Government-hosted roundtable to explore challenges in nickel, lithium industries

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Federal Minister for Resources Madeleine King and Western Australian Minister for Mines David Michael are set to meet with business leaders in the nickel and lithium industries to explore the challenges facing the sector and discuss how the government can help address them. 

Scheduled for Thursday, 25 January, the roundtable discussions will involve heads of resources companies and representatives of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA, Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, Minerals Council of Australia, and relevant unions in Perth. 

Australia’s Federal and State governments are committed to collaborating with industry to understand how to seek out advantages in the market for local companies and how they can better compete with cheaper and lower-grade products produced abroad. 

Among the issues to be discussed in the roundtable are the low price of nickel, which is a result of an oversupply in the market, and the price volatility of lithium due in part to the concentration of supply chains. 

“Fluctuations in the nickel and lithium markets are having an impact on our domestic minerals industry,” said Minister King. “Lithium and nickel are both crucial to the energy transition as we decarbonise.  The mining of these resources supports many local jobs.” 

“Commodities traditionally go through natural and cyclical boom and bust cycles, but the potential prolonged impact this could have on Australia’s energy transition, local workforce and development of Australia’s minerals sector is a matter of great concern,” King added. 

Minister Michael expressed his confidence in WA’s nickel and lithium industries to survive and thrive as providers of responsibly and ethically sourced, high-quality products for the battery industry. 

“While I am hopeful that many of the affected workers can be redeployed or find alternative employment in WA’s resources sector, we have a range of measures in place to support workers into jobs, or to upskill and reskill so they can take advantage of other opportunities,” Minister Michael noted. 

“We will continue to monitor the impacts of the nickel and lithium price slowdown and I look forward to discussing the issues involved with industry leaders.”