Battery Minerals 'Non-Core' At BHP
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Reuters reported last week that Arnoud Balhuizen, chief commercial officer at BHP, has said that while 2017 marks a “tipping point” for electric vehicles (in that they have entered the mainstream of metals demand forecasting), in terms of sales, however, the mass move is further off as hybrids and conventional cars stay on the roads for a transition period.
Mr Balhuizen estimates that shift would be around 2030, which is also when BHP expects demand for oil from light vehicles to peak. Other forms of oil demand, including from industry and heavy goods transport, are likely to be more sustained.
So while BHP’s response to electric vehicles decision to invest in its NickelWest operations in Australia to produce nickel sulphates required by battery-makers (at a cost of more than $40 million and perhaps more to further expand the plant), Mr Balhuizen says the assets, however, are for sale.
“If we get the right price, we would sell it,” Balhuizen said in an interview with Reuters. “We’re not actively in discussion, but it remains non-core.”
He said that battery minerals, such as nickel, as well as lithium and cobalt, are not a priority because BHP is a bulk commodity company (iron ore and coal of which it has more than enough).
That leaves copper and oil (but not gas) as the two resources for which it is exploring.
Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.
At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.