SYDNEY, Australia — After Queensland Nickel (QN), a wholly owned subsidiary of companies owned by Professor Clive Palmer, purchased the Yabulu Refinery from BHP Billiton in July last year, the new owners faced the challenge of isolating the IT systems to enable the Refinery to operate as a separate company. The purchase of the Refinery required the separation of all IT systems and infrastructure from BHP Billiton to a standalone environment within six months – an immovable deadline to comply with the conditions of the sale.
Queensland Nickel export A$700 million of value added nickel and cobalt products each year, making Queensland Nickel one of Queensland’s largest exporters. As the largest private employer in the region, the operation provides approximately 1,000 jobs for local employees and contractors. It operates the Yabulu Refinery, located 25 kilometres north-west of Townsville, in Queensland. The Refinery is a leader in the production and marketing of high quality nickel and cobalt. It processes nickel and cobalt-bearing laterite ores purchased from third party mines in New Caledonia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Nickel ore is dried, ground, roasted and leached in an ammonia solution to extract the nickel and cobalt in the processing plant. Nickel and cobalt are separated and further refined in the metal refining area, to produce products for sale in the global market.
To ensure the success of the aggressive timeline, QN turned to SAP’s key industry partner, COSOL, who chose to tackle this implementation through SAP’s ECC6 Business Suite, providing functionality for managing Finance, Supply, Maintenance, Sales and Marketing, Payroll and HR systems, as well as SAP XI for integrations and the SAP BusinessObjects reporting suite for advanced business and performance reporting, After all business approvals were in place, just four months remained for the SAP implementation, , including time needed to manage the extraction of QN’s relevant data from four disparate SAP systems used by BHP Billiton – a system for finance and control, material management, plant management data , a second for HR and Payroll data, a third for sales and marketing data and the fourth for QN’s pre BHP Billiton data.
Basil Ahyick, Queensland Nickel CFO said, “The combination of strong executive support from the QN leadership team, together with deep industry expertise from COSOL and support from SAP resulted in a successful implementation of our new SAP systems. The partnership of QN, COSOL and SAP provided QN with the right team to deliver on our aggressive timeframes for the cut-over to the new environment.