Vale officials say they have confidence in the nickel market in the long run, but for now they aren’t happy with the metal’s prices. In December, Vale dialed back nickel output forecasts for the next five years even as it praised the metal’s future prospects.
Last week, Reuters reported Vale was curbing base metal production to boost returns, though the world’s biggest nickel producer hopes the area will one day represent a greater part of earnings.
Vale executives said they hoped to find a partner for the struggling New Caledonia nickel mine by the end of the year, but it was not clear whether the world’s largest nickel producer would continue nickel operations there, Reuters said.
Executives said they were not satisfied with nickel prices, but said that the metal would become an industry motor when electric vehicles become a reality.
Nickel — the key metal mined in Sudbury — dropped to almost US$4 a pound earlier this year, but prices have since risen to $6 or more in recent months.
Vale has struggled over its presence in the nickel segment, where prices have yet to pick up because of oversupply, despite the metal’s key role in lithium-ion batteries that are used in electric cars, Reuters said.
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