Australia’s only dedicated nickel conference was opened this morning in Perth, marking the 27th year the industry has got together at this important meeting, regardless of where the metal has been at in the commodity cycle over the years.
Opening Paydirt’s Australian Nickel Conference, Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston announced Western Australia’s resources sector achieved record sales of $231 billion in the 2021-22 financial year – $20 billion more than the previous record of $211 billion set in the 2020-21 financial year.
“It just shows you how well things are going, it is good to see that so many commodities are doing well at the moment and the global forces are acting in our favour for once,” Minister Johnston said.
“Of course, the reason nickel is doing so well is because of the global ambition to fight climate change. Western Australia is in so many metals, including nickel, the crossroads for the global effort to decarbonise.
“We are a stable, ethical, cost-effective supplier for battery and critical metals to the globe, which has seen more than $9 billion of investment into our battery and critical minerals sector in the last six years.
“I think that shows the confidence people have in the way we are managing the State’s economy, the way we are working with industry to provide a stable environment, and the entrepreneurial spirit that is so clearly demonstrated in the nickel industry.”
Reinforcing its significance to the Western Australian economy, nickel was the State’s fourth most valuable minerals sector achieving sales of $4.9 billion in the past financial year, while accounting for 5.3% of the State’s mines and petroleum workforce.
Reflecting on the long history of the Australian Nickel Conference, and the event’s return to a full two-day program, conference convenor and Paydirt Media executive chairman Bill Repard reminded a full house at the Pan Pacific Perth that it was only 10 years ago that market conditions led to the meeting being condensed to just one day.
“At the time, the price of nickel was not what we wanted, companies were putting people off, mines were on care-and-maintenance, exploration budgets were being slashed, and gloom prevailed.” Mr Repard said.
“Wind the clock 10 years on and what we have today is a record number of presentations from companies who will tell their stories over the next two days. As well as many of the Australian stories we have come to know, we will also hear from companies that have moved further afield – whether to Brazil or Scandinavia, Vietnam or the Solomon Islands. Exploration is back on the agenda big time.”