BHP Billiton in talks to sell Australian nickel business

MELBOURNE Wed May 14, 2014 1:49am EDT

MELBOURNE May 14 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton is in talks to sell its nickel business based in Western Australia, the top global miner said on Wednesday, in line with its aim of simplifying the company.

BHP said it was examining all options for Nickel West, including the sale of all or parts of the business, which includes the Mt Keith, Cliffs and Leinster mines, the Kalgoorlie smelter, Kambalda concentrator and the Kwinana refinery.

"The process of engaging with third parties has commenced," BHP spokeswoman Fiona Hadley said. "We're not going to speculate on the timing or outcomes of the review."

The company has lumped Nickel West with two other unwanted businesses, aluminium and manganese, and had flagged earlier this year that one option would be to spin off all three into a separate company.

Deutsche Bank said in an April note that it valued Nickel West at $459 million. (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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