First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has opened the new Shoemaker-Levy mine at the company’s Ravensthorpe nickel-cobalt operations.
The Ravensthorpe facility is a laterite nickel operation producing around 30,000 tonnes per annum of a mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide intermediate product used in the production of nickel sulphate.
Nickel sulphate is a key material in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
Around 650 people work at the Ravensthorpe operations, with the new orebody expected to extend the mine’s life by at least 20 years.
Since being restarted by FQM in 2011, the operations have had nickel sales of 202,782 tonnes and cobalt sales of 7527 tonnes.
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Three of the operation’s 18-megawatt steam turbines generate power using waste heat from the mine’s production process.
WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston congratulated FQM on the opening of the new Shoemaker-Levy mine.
“Ravensthorpe has felt the impact of a volatile nickel market in previous years but since 2020 nickel prices have trended upwards because of the increasing global production of batteries,” Johnston said.
“This new mine will add decades to the life of this rejuvenated operation, securing jobs and strengthening the McGowan Government’s vision for WA’s future battery industry strategy.”