Russian revelation behind nickel boom – by Neil Watkinson (Kalgoorlie Miner – August 10, 2018)

Legendary mining scientist Roy Woodall used his Kalgoorlie-Boulder Walk of Fame plaque unveiling yesterday to tell the story of how “secret Russian technology” smuggled into Australia helped him discover the Goldfields’ rich nickel deposits.

Dr Woodall told the crowd assembled in blustery conditions outside the Palace Hotel on Hannan Street about how Western Mining Corporation was struggling with its exploration of the Kambalda area in the mid-1960s.

He said he had encountered an immigrant from communist-controlled Yugoslavia, who knew little English but still wanted a job, so he employed the man. Dr Woodall said he discovered the man was a geophysicist, and could get his hands on an induced-polarisation system used behind the Iron Curtain which was not available in the West.

He said the technology encouraged him to take a risk and continue exploring the Kambalda area at a time when Western Mining was extremely short of cash and the naysayers were telling him there was nothing to find.

Dr Woodall said the technology “found heaps of nickel”, and a new and profitable mining industry in the Goldfields was born. He said he had discovered 78 ore bodies in Australia during his Western Mining career, and had gained much satisfaction from his work.

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