Nickel West attracts strong interest

The looming battle for BHP Billiton's Nickel West operations is heating up, with reports suggest- ing six bidders had entered into the due diligence process.

Channel 9's business show reported yesterday that China's MMG, Canada's Sherritt International and Dutch multinational Trafigura had entered the race.

_WestBusiness _ has previously flagged mining giant Glencore, Mick Davis' X2 Resources and China's Jinchuan Group as potential suitors for the business, which some suggest could fetch more than $800 million.

It is understood due diligence has been pencilled in for the next few months, with BHP keen to finalise a deal by year's end.

Labelled the worst-kept secret in the mining industry, BHP formally revealed Nickel West was on the market in May following long-running speculation.

The Nickel West business includes its Mt Keith, Cliffs and Leinster mines and associated concentrators, plus the Kalgoorlie smelter, Kambalda concentrator and Kwinana nickel refinery.

The West Australian

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