OZ Minerals to invest $1.1 bln in Western Australia copper-nickel project

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Australian miner OZ Minerals Ltd said on Friday it would invest about A$1.7 billion ($1.13 billion) to develop the West Musgrave copper-nickel project in Western Australia, as it looks to cash in on increasing demand for battery metals.

The project is expected to produce on average about 35,000 tonnes of nickel and about 41,000 tonnes of copper every year for the first five years, the final feasibility study showed.

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The miner, which is targeting first production from there in the second half of 2025, said the project will be capable of processing 13.5 million tonnes per year.

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“Investment approval for West Musgrave unlocks one of the largest undeveloped nickel projects in the world and, with expected lowest quartile costs, it is set to generate about A$9.8 billion undiscounted cashflow over its 24-year operating life,” OZ Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cole said in a statement.

The final investment decision for the project comes nearly a month after the miner said it was planning to more than double its copper output to support green energy, and that it had a “lot more value to create” than accepting a $5.8 billion takeover offer by BHP Group.

OZ in early August rebuffed the offer, saying it was undervaluing the company and was opportunistic. ($1 = 1.5053 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Maju Samuel)

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