BHP Billiton has pledged its support for its aluminium and nickel businesses, after announcing plans to consolidate its Stainless Steel Materials and Aluminium business units into a single unit that will be based in Perth.
The new Aluminium and Nickel Customer Sector Group will be headed by Glenn Kellow, who is currently President Stainless Steel Materials.
The new CSG will include all current nickel and aluminium assets in the group's portfolio, including the Nickel West mining and refining business and the Worsley Alumina business in Western Australia.
In addition, it will encompass the Cerro Matoso (Colombia), Mozal (Mozambique), Hillside and Bayside (South Africa), and two non-operated joint ventures, Alumar and Mineracao Rio do Norte (both Brazil).
BHP Billiton Chief Executive Aluminium, Nickel and Corporate Development, Alberto Calderon said: “Despite the current challenges, BHP Billiton is committed to aluminium and nickel as commodities that may benefit from later phases of economic development in the emerging economies.
“However, individually, aluminium and nickel are small divisions relative to the other businesses in BHP Billiton. The combination of these into a single business unit will provide appropriate scale within the BHP Billiton portfolio, as well as simplifying the functional structure of the business to assist in our efforts to make it a more efficient and competitive organisation.”
This follows market rumours that BHP may have been looking to exit the nickel business, which has been adversely affected by the sharp slump in nickel prices.