Russia’s MMC Norilsk Nickel has re-launched nickel production out of its Australian assets, which were placed on indefinite care and maintenance due to an unfavourable economic environment and nickel market conditions in 2009, the firm has announced.

The firm conducted an internal audit this year and decided to re-launch production in phases.

As part of the phased re-launch, the firm has opened the Lake Johnston mine in Australia, which consists of underground mine Maggie Hays and a concentration plant located 3km from the deposit.

Restoration works are underway for the mine, with production scheduled to begin in the first half of 2011.

The plant, which mines sulphide ore and produces nickel concentrate, uses sulphide flotation technology for ore processing.