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P: 1300 554 757 F: 03 9609 3015


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The Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter, 20 kilometres south of Kalgoorlie, is fully owned by BHP Billiton Nickel West. The smelter that comprises an acid plant, three large converters and a large flash furnace commenced nickel smelting in 1972 under the ownership of Western Mining Corporation (WMC). This ownership continued until the smelter was acquired by BHP Billiton in 2005 when it launched a successful takeover of WMC.

Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter Works in Conjunction With the Kambalda Nickel Concentrator
The Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter employs around 400 direct employees and contractors, the majority of whom live in the Kalgoorlie Boulder, or Kambalda areas. The smelter operates in conjunction with the Kambalda nickel concentrator that is situated about 60 kilometres from Kalgoorlie. The Kambalda nickel concentrator processes nickel ore from third party suppliers. The concentrate is subsequently purchased and delivered to the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter for further processing. The Kambalda concentrator produces between 35,000 and 40,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate each year and the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter produces between 100,000 and 110,000 tonnes of nickel-in-matte (more than 35 percent nickel) annually.

Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter Uses Flash Smelting Technology
The Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter uses a 'flash' method of smelting. Flash smelting technology processes suphide nickel concentrate in the smelting furnace to produce nickel matte and slag. The matte is taken to the converters where it is blown to a high-grade matte. The metal values in the smelting and converting slags are retrieved in the electric furnace as nickel matte. Dry concentrate is delivered to the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter from the nickel mines at Kambalda and Leinster. The nickel matte produced contains around 68 percent nickel, from two to three percent copper and one percent cobalt. Seventy percent of the nickel matte is taken by rail to the Kwinana nickel refinery south of Perth where it is turned into premium London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel briquettes and nickel powder along with a range of marketable co-products before being taken to the Fremantle port from where it is exported to overseas customers, the other 30 percent is exported as nickel matte.

Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter is Part of BHP Billiton's Western Australia Nickel Assets
BHP Billiton Nickel West is the BHP Billiton company that owns all BHP Billitons nickel assets in Western Australia. It consists of an integrated system of nickel mines that consist of two underground mines and a nickel concentrator plant at Leinster, a large open cut nickel mine and concentrator at Mount Keith, the new Ravensworth nickel operation, the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter, the Nickel refinery at Kwinana and the Kambalda nickel concentrator that processes third party nickel ores.

Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter Achieved Record Production Levels in 2010/2011 Financial Year
In the 2010/11 financial year Nickel West's Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter achieved record matte production levels producing 121,100 tonnes to December 31, 2010 and 56,000 tonnes for the six months to the end of June 2011.

As at June 30, 2010 Nickel West held proven probable reserves of nickel ore totalling 171,300,000 tonnes grading at 0.693 which would produce 1,187,160 tonnes of contained nickel. Measured, indicated and inferred resources totalled 836,800,000 tonnes grading at 0.588 percent that could be expect to return 4,917,840 tonnes of contained nickel.

BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton have been in the industry for over 150 years & are among the largest producers of major commodities such as aluminium, copper, coal, iron ore, silver & branching out into oil & gas.They have over 100 locations throughout the world & employ more than 100,000 employees & more


BHP Billiton
171 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000


Phone13 0055 4757
fax03 9609 3015

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