Nursha_Kwinana_BHP_2021_Nickel Sulphate sample

Bringing the right chemistry to Nickel West

Dr Nursha Akabar is a development chemist at BHP’s Kwinana Nickel Refinery south of Perth, where she is responsible for checking the quality of BHP's new nickel sulphate product which is used in the lithium-ion batteries that drive electric cars.

Nursha was born and raised in Perth, but her family is originally from Christmas Island – an Australian territory off the northern coast of Western Australia.

She grew up wanting to be a forensic scientist – with a thirst for investigating how things work the way they do, and why. Nursha’s attention to detail and analytical mind-set helped her choose chemistry, and she went on to study at Curtin University, completing her PhD.

“As a chemist working at Australia’s largest nickel refinery, it has been great for me to see the production within our value chain – from nickel matte, to nickel powder/briquettes, as well as the final nickel sulphate crystal product,” said Nursha.

“Having the knowledge of what goes into the process (pure high-grade nickel powder) and what comes out gives me the confidence to validate that our product is of the highest quality.”  

What motivates Nursha to work in WA’s burgeoning battery materials industry?

“It is an exciting time as there is so much research being developed around battery recycling and improving the quality of battery materials,” said Nursha. 

“And it is very rewarding to work in a company that will contribute to a cleaner, greener future.”

Nursha said she is also honoured to be one of the youngest and newest members in the lab team at the Kwinana Nickel Refinery. 

“Even though most of my colleagues have been working many more years than me, they still treat me with respect and are open to my ideas,” said Nursha.

“I am grateful that I have a supportive team who trust my skills and abilities. When things don’t work out as expected – having a team that helps each other out makes the day better.”

Well done Nursha, and welcome to the Nickel West team!

More on Nickel West here - Nickel West | BHP