As Australian nickel’s shine wears off, 140 workers are being made redundant at a Kimberley mine

As Australian nickel’s shine wears off, 140 workers are being made redundant at a Kimberley mine

Panoramic Resources, the company that operates one of Western Australia’s few nickel mines, has advised the market it plans to make 140 on-site jobs redundant.

Key points:

  • Panoramic Resources announced in December that it was going into voluntary administration
  • The company employs more than 150 staff and 200 contractors at its Savannah nickel mine in the Kimberley
  • The price of nickel has fallen by 44 per cent in the past 12 months

It comes less than a month after the company, which operates the Savannah nickel mine north of Halls Creek in the Kimberley region, announced it would enter voluntary administration on the back of falling nickel prices.

Nickel is a critical mineral used in stainless steel and batteries which, just last year, Australian resources companies were scrambling to supply more of.

In the past 12 months, however, the price of nickel has dropped by more than 44 per cent. 

“Whilst operations have continued, including a shipment of approximately 10,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate on January 3, 2024, nickel prices have continued to trend lower,” an ASX announcement from Panoramic Resources said.

“It was our intention to continue to trade-on the Savannah Nickel Project …” administrator and FTI Consulting managing director Daniel Woodhouse said.

“[However] it is apparent that the prospect of achieving a near-term turnaround of operations and finances is low.” 

The Savannah nickel mine is located 60 kilometres north of Halls Creek.(ABC Rural: Courtney Fowler)

The suspension will mean the loss of 140 jobs on-site, some with immediate effect.

The company has about 150 employees and uses another 200 on-site contractors.

Lack of local Kimberley jobs

Halls Creek Shire president Malcolm Edwards said the small town drew very little local economic benefit from the Savannah nickel mine. 

“They didn’t have much to do with Halls Creek at all, I can’t remember meeting anyone from that organisation or that mine,” he said.

A worker at the Savannah nickel mine uses robotics to remotely operate a truck underground.(ABC Rural: Courtney Fowler)

While Panoramic Resources flew staff in and out of the mine site, Mr Edwards would like to see more local people employed if the mine was purchased by a new entity. 

“We’d like to have a meeting with [any new buyer] and we could probably have a [Memorandum of Understanding,] and the thing we will be pressing is local jobs.”

“So let’s hope we have better engagement with the mine if it starts up again.”

Voluntary administration continues

Panoramic Resources’ announcement to the ASX said the company “will continue a dual track strategy to sell or recapitalise the Panoramic business”.

“This process will continue regardless of the Savannah Nickel Project’s operating status and look to realise the full value of the defined ore bodies, extensive infrastructure, and exploration potential of the project.”

Get our local newsletter, delivered free each Tuesday

Posted , updated 

Read More

Zaļā Josta - Reklāma