Western Australia’s embattled mining industry has been plagued with several closures of mines in Ravensthorpe, Kambalda and the Kimberley in the last two years, yet a new facility could revive the sector.
WA Mines Minister Bill Johnston officially opened the $456 million Nova nickel-copper mine on Sept. 8, which is located 360 kilometres from Kalgoorlie-Boulder. As the use of electric vehicles increase, miners hope that the production of new vehicles will influence a higher demand for nickel.
The Independence Group, which owns the facility, expects the mine to be “a string of Novas waiting to be found,” instead of only being a lucrative investment over its initial 10-year lifespan. Global nickel supplies for steel manufacturing used to account for up to 70 per cent, according to Independence Managing Director Peter Bradford.
However, the emergence of electric cars somehow served as encouraging news for nickel miners, since demand for delivering nickel supplies has shifted from steel to batteries. The Nova mine will be fully operational by Sept. 30, when Ravensthorpe Nickel Mine is expected to be shut down. The Nova mine and Rio Tinto’s opening of a new iron ore mine in Pilbara region in August will support the state’s mining sector.
Johnston remains confident that the Nova facility will allow Western Australia to take advantage of an “energy revolution going on around the world.” He agreed on Bradford’s comments about the opportunities brought by nickel mining, which could be a new export product for the state.
Aside from mining, businesses that rely on large amounts of fuel for projects in remote areas should consider using a self-bunded diesel tank, mostly because of its mobility and large storage capacity. Johnston believes that nickel will provide companies with new opportunities for business.
Western Australia’s mining industry continues to forge ahead, despite several mine closures that affected the sector in previous years.