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Kalgoorlie-Boulder has had an ever broadening mining economy!

5 Feb 2016 Kalgoorlie 0 Comment

With all the doom and gloom in the press about commodity prices and the state of the World economy we could be forgiven for getting a little down on the economic prospects for Kalgoorlie Boulder and our region, but we are in a much stronger position than others.

Since the end of the 60s Kalgoorlie Boulder and the Eastern Goldfields generally has had an ever broadening mining economy.

For the first seventy five years of our history we were reliant on Gold but the development of the nickel industry in Kambalda and then throughout the Eastern Goldfields heralded the start of the change from a one commodity town to a multi commodity region.

We now have resources in gold, nickel, cobalt, copper, zinc, silver, uranium, rare earths, iron ore, lead, magnetite, vanadium, molybdenum, lithium and tantalum to name a few!

Not all these commodities rise and fall in value at the same time so unlike towns reliant on a single commodity the Eastern Goldfields has an inbuilt set of scales so as one declines another is on the rise.

Nickel has been falling in value since 2011 when it peaked around US$13 per lb, it is now $US3.80 so down over 70%.

There is an established, 8 months, down trend in the stockpile on the London Metals Exchange (LME) but the drop per month is so far quite small so it may be some time before it starts to have an impact on the nickel price, but that day will come bringing with it a resurgence in the fortunes in Kambalda in particular.

On the other side of the scales and with the Australian Dollar sitting at around 70c US we are doing quite well. Gold is about $1600 per Oz so most of our local mines are quite profitable and driving exploration into this sector.

There have been a number of new gold discoveries so things are looking very positive.

Then there is the emergence of Uranium and a view that nuclear energy is going to play a much larger role in base load power production globally. Ground works are already underway to develop the first of the regions uranium mines.

Anyone who watched Catalyst recently would have seen the enormous advances in battery technology enabling houses to collect and store solar power to meet power demand during the day and night. The new breed of battery is smaller, lighter, has far greater capacity and a far shorter recharge time than previously available, which will revolutionise the use of electric transport and solar powered buildings.

This technology requires minerals that we have in abundance in our region, the Mt Weld rare earths deposit being one.

All in all we have a great future with opportunities emerging in renewable energy particularly solar, nuclear energy and freight all adding to the diversity of our economy.

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