Nickel may be down, but it is not out and there are still plenty of opportunities to be found.
Peter Xavier, vice president of Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, a Glencore Company, delivered the keynote address at Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He said Sudbury continues to be the “meat and potatoes” of its nickel operations.
“(The company), more than ever, is driven out of Sudbury,” Xavier said.
Nickel prices dive and peak, but Xavier said that is not just due to demand. There are also structural changes within the market to consider. In recent weeks, nickel has surged to just more than $5 a pound US.
“There is still a lot of overhang in the market,” Xavier told the crowd. “This is the new normal and given how small the nickel market is, it’ll always be very susceptible to sediment, supply, demand and small changes.”
Fundamentally, Xavier said, there is simply too much supply right now and decreased demand. But there are some positive trends.
“There’ll still be a need for nickel for stainless steel and for specialty applications … and battery packets and electrification of vehicles present a new market opportunity,” Xavier said. Glencore has also expanded into Indonesia, where nickel mining plants are up and running.
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