What would happen if your town lost its bank, doctor’s surgery, and petrol station within the space of a few months? That is the prospect facing the residents of a West Australian mining town which boomed during the 1960s and 70s but is now facing a fight for survival.
Kambalda was built on the discovery of nickel in 1966 and Australia’s first nickel sulphide mine, known as the Silver Lake shaft. Fly-in, fly-out was not allowed in the early days, but it has slowly crept into the community in recent years with the construction of a workers’ camp.
The decade since the global financial crisis struck has not been kind to Kambalda, with its population falling from 2,689 to 2,539 between the 2006 and 2016 Census polls.
Town hit by closure of four nickel mines
Low prices for the stainless-steel ingredient have seen Kambalda’s four biggest nickel mines close in the past three years, the most recent being the historic Long mine just last month.
Long had operated since the 1970s and the closure saw 62 workers made redundant, although the current skills shortage facing the mining industry meant they walked straight into new jobs. The mine has special significance for father-and-son duo Graham and Wayne Lester who both completed electrical apprenticeships at Long.
For the rest of this article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-16/kambalda-mining-town-faces-loss-of-bank-doctor-petrol-station/9991170