BHP Billiton advises lower nickel output following suspension of operations due to earthquake


BHP Billiton was forced to shut down its nickel production operations at the Perseverance mine in Western Australia as a result of a minor earthquake on October 31. (wandee007) (wandee007)

Following the 3.7 magnitude earthquake, all of the company’s employees were immediately evacuated from the site and rushed to a secure refuge chamber where they had access to water and communication. All of the workers were brought back safely to the surface that same day, according to the latest media release by BHP Billiton.

As a result of the temporary suspension of the Perseverance Underground operation, the company is expected to post lower nickel production in the current quarter.

The company was able to send a small crew of experts in order to assess the damage and the extent of the impact on operations, while the rest of the personnel were dismissed and told that they were not required at work until further notice.

BHP Billiton officials informed that Nickel West operations at MT Keith, Cliffs, Kalgoorie, Kambalda and Kwinana will continue to operate within the normal parameters as these sites were not affected by the seismic event.

Although the company reiterated that its Kwinana nickel refinery production will be maintained in the short term, the temporary suspension of the Perseverance Underground mining operations will likely result in reduction of total saleable nickel output in the December 2013 quarter.

The earthquake halted the BHP Billiton’s good fortunes from the September quarter. During that quarter, BHP Billiton produced 40,000 tonnes of nickel, which represented a 9% increase in comparison with the same period of the previous year, as reported by Reuters.

Following the latest developments, the company settled 1.2% lower in line with losses in the wider market.