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WA this week – 10 years ago Nickel find sparks fever

Unlisted Mining Project Investors (MPI) and Finnish group Outokumpu discovered a “freakish” nickel deposit in the Silver Swan deposit, near Kalgoorlie. The find was so good that the company planned to begin production at an annual rate of 10,000 tonnes of nickel from mid 1997. The find consisted of a 440,000 tonne with a deposit grading of 14 per cent nickel. A grading higher than 3 percent is generally considered to be impressive. The discovery sparked interest among nearby exploration companies like Mt Kersey Mining which began to drill at an adjacent property. The United Construction announced it had won a $50 million contract to build the concentrator facility in Western Australia for a hot briquetted iron (HBI) plant. The concentrator facility was built by United Construction for BHP. The project was scheduled to be completed by United Construction in February 1997. United managing director, Dennis O’Neill believed working with BHP Direct Reduced Iron would deliver efficiency. “This cooperative approach is aimed at creating common goals for both parties and delivers maximum benefits with in budget and on time,” he said. Shareholders of Challenge Bank voted in favour of Westpac’s $5.00 a share bid for the regional bank. Neil Hamilton, chairman of Challenge, said “there were 74,413,642 votes in favour of the takeover and 492,626 against”. The takeover bid was launched in July that year, and Westpac’s bid valued Challenge at about $690 million. It still required the approval of the Federal Court of Australia, where a decision was expected later that month. Orbital Engine Corp unveiled a low emission sports motorcycle designed primarily for Asian markets. The Orbital powered machine “will be delivered to Thailand shortly for a series of tests in the rigorous on road environment of Bangkok traffic,” Orbital said. The company said the 125cc Honda NSR motorcycle used an Orbital-powered two stroke engine which produced low levels of exhaust emissions while still delivering acceptable performance. Thailand’s roads were already packed with seven million motorcycles but the 125cc was considered one of the most popular models.

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