Cook Government acting to protect WA nickel industry jobs

  • Cook Government provides support to nickel producers through royalty relief
  • Nickel Financial Assistance Program to deliver a 50 per cent royalty rebate for 18-months, when prices are below $US20,000 per tonne, repayable over 24-months
  • Program aims to protect local jobs, and ensure WA remains a battery metals powerhouse – despite headwinds currently being experienced by the industry

The Cook Government will offer royalty relief to Western Australia’s crucial nickel industry, supporting thousands of local jobs as well as the State’s vision of becoming a global battery minerals processing hub.

The WA nickel industry has experienced extremely challenging global market conditions in recent times, which have prompted mine and processing plant suspensions, and significantly impacted jobs.

These challenging conditions have been caused by a significant structural disruption to the global market prompted by a surge in lower cost supply from other countries coming onstream.

In response, the State Government will offer local nickel producers a 50 per cent royalty rebate – starting from the March quarter 2024 – and will be available over an 18-month period through a new Nickel Financial Assistance Program.

The rebate will be provided if the average price of nickel in concentrate is below US$20,000 per tonne for a given quarter. The rebate will then be repayable by the companies in equal quarterly instalments over the following 24-months.

Companies will need to apply for financial assistance and provide details of their need for support – including information on their finances and projected economics, as well as steps taken to adjust to the current price environment and structural changes in the industry.

As stated by Premier Roger Cook:

“The nickel industry supported almost 10,000 jobs, and generated sales of more than $5 billion last financial year.

“It is also an essential component of the State’s vision of becoming a global hub for the downstream processing of battery metals.

“Protecting local jobs is a key priority for my Government, and we recognise retaining our value-add, critical minerals sector is a key part of our plan to diversify WA, and set it up for future success.

“This is highlighted by our current work to refresh and update the Government’s Future Battery and Critical Minerals Industries Strategy, which was established in 2019.

“Our Nickel Financial Assistance Program will support nickel producers in their hour of need, providing temporary assistance to help with the structural changes to the nickel industry.”

As stated by Treasurer Rita Saffioti:

“Our nickel industry plays a huge role in our State’s economy, and, more importantly employs thousands of Western Australians.

“We’ve always made it clear that decarbonising and diversifying our economy is essential for our State’s future, and critical minerals will have an important role to play in that.

“That’s why we’re stepping in and providing this temporary and conditional assistance, to support the industry through this difficult period.

“The relief is consistent with previous royalty assistance programs to assist lithium producers, and junior iron ore producers, to adjust to changing market conditions.

As stated by Mines and Petroleum Minister David Michael:

“Our nickel miners are competing internationally with mining jurisdictions that have significantly lower environment, social, and governance standards.

“It’s important that they are supported to weather the storm of current market conditions, so they can be part of ongoing and future efforts to decarbonise the globe.

“The industry has asked for Government support, and the Cook Government is delivering.”

/Public Release. View in full here.