Government of Western Australia Official Site


WA nickel promises long-term value


Diverse exploration targets and prospective developments augur well for the future of Western Australia’s nickel industry, said Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion at the official opening of the Australian Nickel Conference held in Perth on 8th October. He said despite commodities market headwinds, many analysts believed nickel prices would turn the corner next year. “The lower Australian dollar and the continuing export ban by Indonesia are forecast to improve nickel’s fortunes, putting WA’s explorers and miners in a positive position.”

The Minister singled out the Nova project in the Fraser Range, east of Norseman, as a ‘superstar’ performer. “Nova is expected to begin operating late next year with plans to produce 26,000 tonnes of nickel, 11,500 tonnes of copper and 850 tonnes of cobalt a year,” he said. “It is a resounding vindication of the money the State Government has invested in the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) and its flagship Co-funded Drilling Program.”

“By the end of June 2017, we will have allocated $130 million since the scheme started in 2009, supporting a host of explorers, including Rox Resources, Panoramic Resources and Sirius Resources, which discovered Nova. Rox Resources has built on its 2012 discoveries at Mt Fisher East with high-priority nickel prospects Sabre and Cutlass, while Panoramic Resources has upgraded its East Kimberley Savannah project and discovered a high-grade nickel zone at Lanfranchi in the Goldfields.”

“Meanwhile, at Kambalda, Mincor Resources NL has boosted the life of its Miitel mine with discovery of the northern Burnett lode,” Mr Marmion said. “It is also pleasing to see activity in new and underexplored areas such as Cassini Resources Ltd. workover of the Nebo-Babel nickel deposits in the West Musgrave region.”

The Minister said applications for the latest round of the EIS Co-funded Drilling Program, valued at up to $4.5 million, close on October 16, 2015. “This important program has offered more than $50 million to 551 projects, with over 430,000 metres drilled and resulting in at least 20 significant discoveries,” he said.

In the last financial year, WA produced 183,083 tonnes of nickel valued at $3.2 billion.