Vale’s Divestment Collapse Underscores Nickel-Mining Challenges – by James Attwood and Mark Burton (Bloomberg News – September 2020)

(Bloomberg) — In the clearest sign yet of the challenges to nickel mining in New Caledonia, a would-be buyer failed to put together a deal that would have seen it paid to acquire a major asset.

New Century Resources Ltd. said Tuesday it was unable to generate a funding package and equity structure that “adequately accommodates a suitable risk/reward scenario” to acquire the Goro operations from Vale SA.

Vale’s response was equally telling. The Rio de Janeiro-based said it would prepare to mothball Goro while exploring other options, all of which would “contemplate Vale’s exit.”

The decision comes even with nickel’s prospects bolstered by growing demand for use in rechargeable batteries as part of an electric-vehicle boom.

The failure to offload the operations comes after a string of financial and operational setbacks at a mine that was brought online late and over-budget in 2010.

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