OREANDA-NEWS. On October 17, 2008 Norilsk Nickel Australia placed its Cawse laterite nickel operation on indefinite care and maintenance, reported the press-centre of Norilsk Nickel.

The mining and metallurgical facility, which is located about 55 kilometres from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, has been operating under increasing cost pressures for some time.

Cawse uses high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) to process the laterite nickel and uses sulphuric acid as its principal reagent. The significant increases in the cost of inputs coupled with a steep decline in nickel prices have lead to the decision to stop production indefinitely.

The company will be pursuing a divestment process as one of its options for the project.

The decision to stop production operations at Cawse does not affect the company’s other nickel operations at Black Swan, Lake Johnston and Waterloo which continue to perform well, in line with expectations.

The Company is considering a range of options for its employees at Cawse.