Mining Albany for jobs

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
The Ravensthorpe nickel mine site is set to reopen next year .
Camera IconThe Ravensthorpe nickel mine site is set to reopen next year .

A surging nickel price has prompted the owner of a Ravensthorpe mine site to restart operations early next year, creating more than 350 jobs.

First Quantum Minerals confirmed on Tuesday it would re-open its Ravensthorpe nickel operation in the next six months, with a region-wide job search beginning next week.

That search will include an Albany jobs fair on Tuesday, when senior First Quantum HR staff will explain the jobs available, skills required, and proposed rosters, and answer applicants’ questions.

The Albany Advertiser understands the company will be looking for employees with skills ranging from qualified electricians to non-qualified roles in administration, agriculture and transport.

Rosters are set to be eight days on, six days off, with the potential for bus transport from Albany and Esperance to Ravensthorpe.

Permanent relocation to Hopetoun will also be offered.

FQM Australia nickel general manager Anthony Mukutuma said the company hoped to fill at least 50 jobs from Albany.

“We believe there (are) a lot of people in and around Albany with the right skills and experience for us, particularly tradespeople,” he said.

“It’s important people understand that you do not have to be experienced in mining.

We are looking for locals in our region, locals with skills from other sectors, locals with a can-do attitude, and we think there are plenty of them out there.

He said the company expected the mine’s operation would help create a further 1800 position across the region by 2023.

First Quantum’s planned return to operations in Ravensthorpe had been rumoured for months ahead of the announcement.

The company previously said that such a move was dependent on a nickel price increase.

Tuesday’s announcement coincided with a five-year high price for the commodity, amid a reduction in international supply and a growth in demand for battery materials.

The Ravensthorpe mine has closed down twice, in 2009 and 2017.

When asked about the mine’s history of closures, a spokesman said the company believed commodity prices would sustain its operation.

“No one can predict the future, but as a global company, First Quantum would not be starting Ravensthorpe nickel operation unless it believed that demand and nickel prices were in the right place for long-term success,” he said.

The mine’s last closure followed a drop in the nickel price to about $16,000 per tonne — nearly 40 per cent lower than when First Quantum bought the mine from BHP in 2009.

It had risen to more than $26,000 per tonne by Monday.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the mine’s re-opening presented “a marvellous opportunity” for WA’s south coast.

“I think it’s a very exciting time,” he said.

FQM has an interactive graphic on its website touting the various attractions across the Great Southern, including the Granite Skywalk, Bluff Knoll, Naturaliste Charters and the Great Southern wine region.

The Albany recruitment evening will be held on September 10 from 5pm-7.30pm at the Albany Public Library.

Registration is not necessary.

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