Greenfields Research

Blog Header Image

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the discovery of the Kambalda nickel district

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Commodities, Exploration, Mining


Minerals exploration guru, Jon Hronsky wrote to myself and a number of other industry professionals today, to remind us that this day marks the 50th anniversary since Western Mining Corporation (WMC) intersected nickel sulphides in drill hole KD1 at the Lunnon deposit in Western Australia’s gold fields. This would subsequently become the Kambalda nickel region (after which Kambalda-type nickel deposits are named).

The discovery launched Australia’s nickel industry, and led to the great Australian ‘nickel boom’, a period which Jon argues was “one of the great exploration booms in history”. The period, of course, was also famous for its shady corporate activity (not involving the aforementioned WMC)  as written about by Trevor Sykes (no relation) in “The Money Miners“.

Jon, however, prefers to focus on the lessons of industry cyclicity. Whilst nickel prices may be low today, the industry has survived downturns before and will do this time. The anniversary is of course also a salient reminder that minerals exploration drives the mining industry, and as Sirius Resources has proved recently, a good discovery beats a bad commodity price. This perhaps will provide some succor to those explorers looking for nickel today in Western Australia.

For those interested in further reading, Jon has a presentation online about the history of nickel exploration in Western Australia.

There is also an article by ABC News about the challenges the town of Kambalda faces today in coping with the nickel industry downturn.