Bloomberg – BHP Group’s failed attempt (bhp) The acquisition of a junior Canadian nickel mine last year should be seen as “almost the tip of the iceberg” for its ambitions in a resource-rich country, says a senior company official.
The world’s largest mining company considers nickel to be one of the three “futures” of copper and potash, and has formed its research and business development team in Canada, looking for opportunities in Ontario’s most viable Ring of Fire region.
In a transition to clean energy, the world is expected to need four times as much nickel in the next 30 years as it has in the last 30 years, said Raghner Ud, BHP chairman for Minerals Americas.
In addition to its portfolios, Canada has some of the best individuals in the world, investing in an increasingly investor-friendly policy that understands the population and plans that seem to “get it”, he said.
The Melbourne-based BHP will pursue more Canadian nickel assets “completely” after it withdrew from the bidding war for Norant Resources Ltd with Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest in December, Udd said.
“You basically don’t have to read that a conversation with Noron only happens once,” he said. “As far as I think the media deserves, it’s almost like the tip of the iceberg. But the truth is, we have a whole machine thinking about growth within the BHP.
The machine includes internal research, initial investments in junior and medium miners, internal development and acquisitions. For example, BHP has invested $ 100 million (US $ 78 million) in Filo Mining Corp (FIL), a Canadian company that explores copper deposits on the border between Chile and Argentina.
Focus on nickel
Nickel (a key component of batteries used in electric vehicles) focuses on BHP, as well as copper and potash. Of these three, BHP has no choice, and its results are based on value and opportunity costs rather than other capital allocation options. The comparative ratings of the copper and nickel companies have risen sharply, he said.
“The truth is, entry and neutral entry is more risky, but has a higher associated reward,” Ud said. However, he added that a “fantastic offer” could emerge in another segment of the market.
Asked if supply-restricted metal markets mean big deals are around the corner, he said the BHP is looking for value everywhere.
“We will keep an eye on different investments and pull the trigger when we see value,” Ud said.
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