Sydney — BHP says it hopes to fully divest its troubled US onshore shale business in about two years and is seeking a buyer for its Australia nickel business. The renewed push to unload both sets of assets, which the world’s biggest mining company no longer deems strategic, comes as prices for oil and nickel enjoy a price resurgence. "Nickel West is noncore, shale is noncore," CEO Andrew Mackenzie told reporters on Thursday after BHP’s annual general meeting in Melbourne. Nickel prices are up about 16% from January, while oil has risen about 9%. BHP entered the shale business at the height of the fracking boom in 2011 and invested billions developing the operations. A subsequent fall in oil prices resulted in pretax write-downs of about $13bn. An exit from the shale business is one of the main demands of activist shareholders led by New York-based Elliott Management, who have pressed for a change of strategy by the global miner. BHP acquired Nickel West in 2005 and several attempts ...

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