Nickel downturn set to bring more pain – by Tess Ingram (Sydney Morning Herald – February 7, 2016)

The Kambalda Football Club is in crisis. For the first time since it formed in 1968, the future of the small but prominent club in the historic West Australian mining town is in jeopardy.

The downturn plaguing the nickel sector has forced many of the region’s mines to suspend operations, robbing the club of players for its senior teams.

President Cyril Poke said the club’s woes started last year when local nickel miner Mincor Resources, a long-time sponsor, began cutting jobs as the nickel price sank.

Mincor suspended production at its Mariner and Miitel mines at the end of January. The football club has called a “crisis meeting”.

“A lot of players have left town or sought other jobs on different rosters, which makes it really hard for them to play football,” Mr Poke said.

“There used to be softball, netball and basketball in town, but we are the last major sporting body left, and we are struggling to survive as well. Once the nickel price ticks back up, if it does, it will be better, but until then I would say we are going to really struggle.”

Marred with melancholy

2016 should have been a time of revelry for Kambalda as it celebrates 50 years as a nickel mining town, but the year looks set to be marred with melancholy as its key sector is buffeted by the most challenging conditions experienced in more than a decade.

As well as Mincor’s supply cuts, Panoramic Resources put its Lanfranchi mine on care and maintenance last year and production volumes at Independence Group’s Long nickel mine were reduced.

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