• Queensland Nickel earlier cut 237 jobs amid price collapse
  • Metal tumbled 42 percent in 2015 as commodities slumped

The nickel refinery owned by Clive Palmer, the Australian mining magnate and politician, appointed administrators to assess the operation’s viability amid the collapse in the metal’s price.

Queensland Nickel operates the Palmer Nickel and Cobalt Refinery about 25 kilometers (16 miles) north-west of Townsville, in the state of Queensland. Nickel futures slumped 42 percent in 2015 and have declined 4.8 percent this year as commodity prices tumbled on concern over slower growth in China, the biggest consumer.

“We will undertake an urgent assessment of the financial position and ongoing viability of the company and its business operations,” John Park, leader Australia, corporate finance and restructuring at FTI Consulting, said Monday in a e-mailed statement. FTI was appointed as voluntary administrator by closely held Queensland Nickel’s directors, the statement said.

Queensland Nickel this month said it was making 237 workers redundant and that it had been seeking talks with the state government to restructure its operations. The refinery processes about 4 million metric tons of nickel ore per year to produce about 32,000 tons of nickel and 2,000 tons of cobalt, according to its website. Its suppliers include mines in New Caledonia.

Queensland Nickel “has the ability to continue its operations and trade out of administration,” Managing Director Clive Mensink said in a separate e-mailed statement.

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