SYDNEY, Feb. 14 -- Australian miner Western Areas N.L. (WSA.AU) said Tuesday its net profit for the six months to December 31 fell 64% to A$24.1 million, reflecting a sharp drop in the price of nickel in line with other base metals.
Western Areas said the price of nickel--used in products ranging from cutlery to household sinks--averaged US$8.51/lb in the first half of its financial year, compared with US$11.61/lb in the comparative six-month period.
"Nickel prices for January have already trended up significantly, heading towards US$9.50 per pound," said Managing Director Dan Lougher. "If this continues over the rest of the year, Western Areas shareholders can expect a strong finish to the financial year."
Western Areas declared an interim dividend of 5 Australian cents.