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Global nickel boom gives mine in WA’s remote Kimberley a second life

The expected demand for electric vehicles is driving optimism in the global nickel industry and breathing new life into a mothballed mine in Western Australia’s remote East Kimberley after a three-year hiatus.

After a tough few years, things are turning a corner for the nickel market, which is up by 20 per cent since the start of the year trading at $US5.61 ($7.85) per pound.

Rising commodity prices have given several projects a boost, including Panoramic Resources’ Savannah mine, which recently reopened near Halls Creek, 2,800 kilometres north of Perth.

Commercial manager Tim Shervington said the mine exported an $8.6-million shipment of nickel concentrate from Wyndham Port this week, its first since reopening.

“It’s been a long time coming, we’ve been in care and maintenance for three years, and to get our first shipment away is very pleasing indeed,” he said.

“I think there’s probably some more confidence in the market with the advent of the lithium-ion battery.

In the process of marketing our concentrate we got approached by many battery manufacturers seeking to buy our product.

That has definitely helped things but also stainless-steel production in China has been lifted in the back end of last year.”

After resuming mining operations in September, the recommissioned mine processed its first ore at the end of 2018 and secured a four-year concentrate sales agreement with China’s Jinchuan and Sino Mining. Read more…

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