UPDATE 1-Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo to pause Australian Kambalda nickel mines

(Adds detail around BHP, Tesla, nickel supply woes)

MELBOURNE, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Wyloo Metals, a private investment company owned by iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest, will put its Australian Kambalda nickel operations on care and maintenance at the end of May as a result of low nickel prices, it said on Monday.

The miner supplies concentrate to BHP Group's Nickel West operations south of Perth, which in turn has an agreement to supply Tesla with the metal key to electric vehicle batteries.

It comes as nickel miners are announcing writedowns and restructures across the board and after BHP last week flagged possible writedowns at its operations.

“We are exploring a number of options for the long-term future of our business," Wyloo CEO Luca Giacovazzi said in a statement.

Wyloo Metals last year bought Mincor's Kambalda nickel operations for $504 million. Kambalda nickel has capacity of 15,000 metric tons and has a contract to supply BHP Group until 2025.

Giacovazzi still believes in the long-term fundamentals for Australian nickel, he told Reuters last week. (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Stephen Coates)

By Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

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