If Royal Nickel Canada succeeds, it would show how Chinese demand for raw materials can stimulate the expansion of Canadian mining
To hear Mark Selby tell it, the Canadian nickel industry is actually an “oligopoly,” in which a few large companies control the smelters, and grab an outsized share of the profits.
Selby, chief executive of Toronto-based Royal Nickel Corp., which is raising money to build a mine in Quebec, thinks he can break that pattern.
On Thursday, his company announced it has devised a way to reverse-engineer a product that resembles nickel pig iron — a lower grade, cheaper form of the metal derived from ores found in tropical areas.
Developed a decade ago and used by China’s steel industry, the nickel pig iron market is rapidly expanding. But Selby’s RNC is the first Canadian nickel producer looking to sell its product into that market, and if he succeeds, it would show how Chinese demand for raw materials can stimulate the expansion of Canadian mining.
“If you’re a (nickel) miner … you really only have about a half-dozen smelters that you can ship it to,” Selby told the Financial Post. “So we’re going to take advantage of the nickel pig iron producers in China.”
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