The West

Western Areas Spotted Quoll mine. Picture: Tony McDonough.
Western Areas' Spotted Quoll mine. Picture: Tony McDonough.

UPDATE 2.45pm: Nickel miner Western Areas has one last debt hurdle to overcome after repaying $95 million of convertible bond debt from its existing cash reserves.

Western Areas managing director Dan Lougher said the repayment had been a "key objective" for the company this year.

"By retiring this debt with cash reserves, net profit before tax will improve approximately $12 million in financial year 2015 through reduced interest and bond accretion costs," he said.

"Consistent with comments in the March quarterly report, and with a rising nickel price, cash flow generation has been particularly strong in the June quarter.

"This, combined with the reduction in debt, places our balance sheet in a very robust position."

Western Areas has one remaining convertible bond repayment of $125 million due on July 2, 2015.

The company plans to continue dipping into existing cash reserves for the repayment, which will result in a further $12 million improvement in net profit before tax in financial year 2016.

Western Areas, which operates the Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll underground mines in the Forrestania region west of Norseman, had $175 million cash in the bank at March 31.

The company's June quarterly report will be released later this month, revealing the end of financial year cash at bank balance and free cash flow generation for the quarter.

Western Areas is on track to meet its guidance after producing 15,697 tonnes of nickel in the first half.

The Flying Fox mine has at least five to six years' mine life, while Spotted Quoll has another decade of reserves.

Western Areas' shares closed up three cents at $4.80.

The West Australian

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