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December 9, 2009

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Xstrata takes hit on nickel business

MINING group Xstrata is taking a US$1.9 billion charge for restructuring its nickel business after metal prices fell, and is taking further charges of US$545 million for copper smeltering operations in Canada and Chile, it said yesterday.

The impairment charge resulted from closures and delays in projects as the nickel market was hit by the global downturn and weak prices.

The price of nickel has rebounded this year by 75 percent to around US$15,700 per ton, but is still a fraction of its 2007 peak of US$51,650.

Earlier in the year, Xstrata closed its high-cost mines in Sudbury, Canada, and suspended operations at Falcondo in the Dominican Republic and Montcalm in Canada.

Xstrata decided to permanently shut down its Kidd copper and zinc metallurgical plant in Canada and said it was considering closing or selling other copper smelters.


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