Australia's First and Second Nickel Booms: The Similarities and Contrasts

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1996
Between 1966 and 1976, Australia moved from being a non-producer to a position of meeting more than ten per cent of world nickel demand. New mine developments beginning the early-1990s have the promise of more than doubling the country's world market share - from around eight per cent to perhaps close to 20 per cent. This new surge in activity - the so-called `second nickel boom' - has led to several developments which seem likely to have similar economic impacts to those of the late- 1960s and early-1970s. There are, however, some notable differences this time around. The impact of long distance commuting over the past 30 years has changed the regional development scenario. The gold industry is much stronger in Australia than it was in the late-1960s and this helps to place the importance of new nickel discoveries in a more realistic perspective. As potential players have jockeyed to complete feasibility studies and move into construction and production phases of new long-life mines, established suppliers clearly seem to be taking actions to discourage the newcomers. In what appears to be a classic oligipolistic market situation, the heightening of perceived entry barriers to the industry appears to be a particularly visible strategy undertaken. In the current scenario as well, greater vertical integration among producers appears a significant influence on market power.
Full Article Download:
(1011 kb)