Southern Ports is scrambling to “quantify the impact” on its Esperance operations after First Quantum Minerals announced the closure of its Ravensthorpe nickel mine. 

The authority is currently amid a voluntary redundancy process, after conceding it cannot maintain its stevedoring workforce following the loss of key contracts to competitors. Expressions of interest for its voluntary redundancy package closed on August 4. 

First Quantum’s Ravensthorpe nickel mine accounts for 25 per cent of the authority’s in-house ship movements and almost 100,000 tonnes of nickel export in containers annually. 

Southern Ports Chief Executive Nicolas Fertin said its closure would have a profound effect on the authority, which was already enduring hardship. 

“Southern Ports’ management team is working to quantify the impact this change in circumstances will have on the organisation and how it might be best managed,” he said. 

“It was an unexpected announcement and I cannot shy away from saying we are facing difficult times ahead for us as an organisation. 

“I have spoken to the FQM management and will continue to work with them to establish what this suspension means for Southern Ports as we expect it will be different to a complete shutdown of operations.”

Image: Southern Ports Chief Executive Nicolas Fertin, Albany Advertiser, The West Australian