Voisey’s Bay poised to capitalize on demand for cobalt, but Vale silent – by Terry Roberts (CBC News NL – February 06, 2018)


Sources say ballistic surge in cobalt prices makes underground mine project more likely

A ballistic surge in the price of cobalt could mean positive things for Labrador’s Voisey’s Bay mine, but if executives at Vale are excited, they certainly aren’t saying.

Reuters is reporting that the Brazilian mining giant, which owns the Voisey’s Bay mine and processing facility at Long Harbour, Placentia Bay, is looking to cash in on cobalt.

The international news agency is reporting that Vale is looking to sell unmined cobalt, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to investors and that could be a positive sign as the company decides whether to proceed with an underground mine at Voisey’s Bay.

Electric cars driving demand

It’s called “streaming,” and it allows an investor to make an upfront payment in exchange for future production at a discounted price. Streaming is common on precious metals markets, but would be a first for the booming cobalt sector, according to Reuters.

Cobalt is a critical component in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and demand for the metal has skyrocketed because of the growing market for electric vehicles.

According to the London Metal Exchange, the price for a tonne of cobalt recently topped $80,000 US, up from $50,000 a year ago. Sources tell Reuters that income from cobalt could be a smart way for Vale to finance construction of the underground mine at Voisey’s Bay.

Vale began operating an open-pit mine and concentrator at Voisey’s Bay in 2005, producing about 6,000 tonnes daily of two types of concentrate: nickel-cobalt-copper and copper.

For the rest of this article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/cobalt-labrador-voiseys-bay-1.4520068