Bloomberg News

BHP Suspends Australian Manganese Plant on Prices, Costs

February 22, 2012

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- BHP Billiton Ltd., the biggest mining company, temporarily suspended production at its TEMCO manganese alloy plant in Australia because of higher costs, a strong local currency and low prices.

“TEMCO is a processing business that competes globally with similar facilities in other parts of the world,” Tom Schutte, BHP Billiton manganese president, said today in an e- mailed statement. “There has been further erosion of its international competitiveness due to the strong Australian dollar and steady increases in input costs.”

BHP will review the long-term future of the operation in Tasmania state over a three-month period, Bryan Quinn, manganese Australia president for the Melbourne-based company, said in the statement.

Companies in Australia producing goods for export are struggling with the high local currency, the second-strongest performer over the past twelve months. Alcoa of Australia Ltd. this month said it may cut production at its Point Henry aluminum smelter in Victoria state.

BHP will reduce contractor positions at TEMCO while keeping on all permanent employees for now, the company said.

--Editor: Keith Gosman

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at ebehrmann1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebecca Keenan at rkeenan5@bloomberg.net


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