Sudbury Vale Strike impacting battery market – by Staff (Sudbury Star – July 2, 2021)

Analyst senses labour dispute could extend for months

A strike at Vale’s Sudbury operations is taxing a nickel market that’s key to powering electric vehicles. The job action by USW Local 6500 is now entering its second month, with no new contract talks planned.

Bloomberg News notes that Sudbury is one of the world’s few producers of nickel pellet, a form used to produce alloys for aerospace, electronic and nuclear industries.

Production at Vale’s northeast Ontario operation halted when unionized workers went on strike on June 1. The disruption is driving consumers to tap battery-grade nickel briquette as an alternative.

That shift is increasing competition for briquette, pushing up North American premiums, or extra charges consumers pay on top of nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange, as stockpiles of the metal dwindle, Bloomberg said.

Inventories of briquette, the main form of nickel stored at LME warehouses, have fallen nine per cent since a peak in April and are now at the lowest in more than a year.

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