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171 COLLINS STREET MELBOURNE VIC , 3000
P: 1300 554 757 F: 03 9609 3015
www.bhpbilliton.com

PERSEVERANCE

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The Perseverance underground nickel mine in Western Australia, near the Eastern Goldfields town of Leinster, was closed by it owner, BHP Billiton Nickel West, in December 2013, because of the company deciding it was no longer safe to operate. The closure cost the jobs of about 200 mine workers. Other Nickel West operations in Western Australia will continue as usual although the company recently announced an almost two billion dollars writedown on its assets because of weak nickel prices.
The Perseverance mine closure has been decided only weeks after nine mine workers were trapped underground after a 3.7 magnitude earthquake hit the area. The men, all fitters, were brought to the surface without injury despite a power outage at the time.


Since the earthquake, BHP Billiton Nickel West, have had experts assess the situation and as a result had arrived at the decision that it would be unsafe to resume underground mining operations in the sub-level cave at the Perseverance mine.
The company will resume mining at Rocky's Reward open cut mine near Leinster in order to provide an alternative nickel ore supply to take the place of the supply lost as a result of the closure of the Perseverance mine. BHP Billiton Nickel West will try to redeploy as many of the Perseverance miners as it can before announcing the final number of redundancies. It will also maintain the underground infrastructure at the perseverance mine.


Comfortable Living in the Mining Town of Leinster
The mining town of Leinster, where the Perseverance mine is located, was formed in 1976 by the Agnew Gold Mining Company as a town to accommodate workers at its nickel mine. The town name of Leinster was adopted as it was the name of the Leinster Downs sheep station that occupied the area. Leinster today has an 18 hole golf course, an air conditioned indoor sports centre, and various other sporting facilities. It also has a tavern, primary school, service station, post office and supermarket. It is home to around 700 permanent citizens and 700 fly in fly out mine workers.


Concentrator can Process up to Three Million Tonnes of ore a Year
The concentration plant at the Perseverance Mine is able to process three million tonnes of ore annually. The nickel and copper concentrate is transported from the mine site by rail, to the smelter at Kalgoorlie, 375 kilometres to its south. The nickel ore deposit being mined at the Perseverance Mine is one of the largest komatite related copper nickel sulphide deposits in the world. It has reserves totalling 45 million tonnes with a nickel grading of 2.05 percent. To further boost this reserve it was recently announced that another large high grade nickel discovery has been located near the Perseverance Mine. This new find has been estimated to be worth another $3.89 billion to the company.


Mining Began in the Area in 1897
Mining on a large scale started in the Leinster area as early as 1897 when the East Murchison United Company discovered gold there. The Leinster nickel operation was sold to WMC Resources in 1988 by its then owner Western Selcast and Mt Isa Mines. WMC lost control of the mine to BHP Billiton when BHP Billiton Nickel West acquired WMC in 2005. Nickel West then became the worlds third largest nickel concentrate producer.


A Mine Plagued With the Occasional Safety Problem
The Perseverance Mine has not been without its fair share of problems over the years as it was temporarily closed in January 2012 after it experienced ground subsidence near one of its entrances. Safety at the mine also came under scrutiny in 2010 after a mine worker drove off a 20 metre ledge and died. A year earlier, in 2009, the mine experienced two rock falls inside a month. One of the falls trapped a miner for two hours. The rock falls were caused by seismic activity.
 

BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton have been in the industry for over 150 years & are among the largest producers of major commodities such as aluminium, copper, coal, iron ore, silver & branching out into oil & gas.They have over 100 locations throughout the world & employ more than 100,000 employees &...........read more

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BHP Billiton
171 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

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Phone13 0055 4757
fax03 9609 3015

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