Nickel Australia

Nickel Deposits In Australia

Mining Crew on Site

Overview Of Nickel Mining In Australia

Nickel mining started in the region of Western Australia. Australia’s stint with nickels is inevitable, which has been fraught with various fluctuations in decades past. The industry’s growth or otherwise is determined by the market appeal for nickel or nickel-based products.

This has made nickel’s potential largely dependent on industrial trends. An example of this can be found in the 1960s, when nickel mining surged in response to Vietnam’s conflict. However, in the last few years, Australia sees a gradual reawakening in its push for growth in the nickel mining sector. This comes as new dimensions of disruptive tech are rapidly advancing in the market space. 

Developments such as battery-driven automobiles or electric vehicles now portend a finer future for the nickel industry. Australian companies are also rising to their feet to play a central role in the export prospects that nickel offers.

Nickel Deposits In Australia

We can mostly find an outstanding quantity of nickel resources in the country in the region of Western Australia. This particular area is said to hold nearly a hundred per cent of the total nickel deposits that the country has. It is also where the mining companies have their mines with varying levels of operational capability. 

aerial view of sand mine with conveyors

Mining Techniques

This is a technique deployed when the nickel or other valuable resources does not exist too far beneath the soil. The overburden, such as rock or other external layers concealing the mineral, is comparatively thin and only needs to be displaced for the resource to be reached. In this case, the surface material is excavated, and the commercially useful resource is taken out.

This process will often continue until the number of resources in that area is so depleted that the overburden is now higher than the resource’s value. This is unprofitable and will result in abandonment. Open-pit mines are also discarded when the resource has been exhausted.

This type of mines also requires a water control level, especially in regions where there is a chance of flooding and the pit can become a lake. To close it up, open pits commonly become landfills where waste is dumped.

This technique is on the other side of the divide. It is deployed when the nickel exists far below the surface so that using a pit is not feasible. The overburden is high, and you cannot reach the mineral easily. This method is more capital intensive as it requires specialised equipment for tunnelling.

Also, the quantity of overburden extracted outstrips the mineral mined by many tons. Productivity is also less.

In Australian mines, open-pit mining is often adopted due to the shallow nature of laterite nickel. Sometimes, however, you can combine open-pit mining with underground techniques to access both deeply ensconced nickel and shallow ones. The approach used will also depend on the ore’s dimensions and what is necessary to access it.

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