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The worlds largest nickel and palladium producer, Russian owned Norilsk Nickel, has decided to sell its Australian assets, which have all been closed and placed on care and maintenance. This decision includes the Black Swan open pit mine in Western Australia, 53 kilometres north east of Kalgoorlie in the Eastern Goldfields Region.

Black Swan was Part of the Norilsk Nickel Acquisition of LionOre
The Black Swan open pit mine was part of the parcel of mining operations taken over by Norilsk Nickel when it acquired Canadian mining company, LionOre Mining International, in 2007. The mines that have been placed on sale include the Thunderbox gold mine and the Black Swan, Waterloo, Cawse and Lake Johnston nickel mines. All the nickel mines had previously been placed on care and maintenance because of low nickel prices. The price of nickel, that is used in the manufacturing of stainless steel, had dropped by 20 percent in 2012 because of low demand from steelmakers worldwide.

Black Swan Includes the Silver Swan Underground Mine
The Black Swan open pit nickel mining operation includes the Silver Swan underground mine that was developed to mine a small ore body consisting of a high grade of nickel while the Black Swan open pit mine mined sulphide ores of a lower nickel grade.

Black Swan and Silver Swan Shared the Same Facilities

Both mining operations shared the one concentrator and mining infrastructure that included a retention pond, waste dump and warehouse. Both the Black Swan and Silver Swan nickel deposits were discovered in the latter half of the 1960's. Th Silver Swan underground mine began operations in 1996 and the Black Swan open pit operation in June 2004. By 2008 the Black Swan mine was producing 16,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate annually.

Norilsk Nickel Decides to not Reopen the Black Swan Mine

In June 2012 the Norilsk Nickel Mining and Metallurgical Company announced it was not going to proceed with the re-opening of the Black Swan mine, that it had previously planned to re-develop following the successful Lake Johnston nickel mining enterprise. The Black Swan mine was going to be re-opened with the ore processed at the Crawse treatment plant, as the Black Swan project was going to be developed as a supporting resource base, rather than being a stand alone mining operation as it had been previously. Because of its role as a supporting resource to the larger deposits it was decided to not go ahead with the re-opening, given market conditions at the time. The decision left the Lake Johnston Mine as Norilsk Nickel's only remaining operating nickel mine until it too was closed in April 2013.

The Black Swan open pit nickel mine was operated by MPI Mines (Mining Project Investors) that was delisted from the ASX (Australian Securities Exchange) after it was acquired by LionOre in late 2004. The Black Swan asset was an important addition to LionOre's growing portfolio. LionOre was acquired by Norilsk Nickel in 2007.

When Norilsk Nickel acquired LionOre it also inherited LionOre technology that it renamed Norilsk technology, a nickel processing technology that has many patients and is a key technology required to make use of the Activox process. The Norilsk Process Technology is located in Osborne Park Western Australia.

Norilsk Nickel

Norilsk Nickel Australia has three major projects operating in Australia south-central Western Australia, Lake Johnston, Black Swan and the Cawse Laterite Operation.


Norilsk Nickel
Level 1 88 Colin St
West Perth, WA 6005

PO Box 906
West Perth, WA 6872


Phone08 9426 0100
fax08 9481 5823

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