Vale’s big nickel gamble paying off, experts say – by Staff (Sudbury Star – March 9, 2022)

London Metal Exchange, meanwhile, takes emergency measures to halt trading in nickel on Tuesday

An unprecedented surge in nickel prices fueled by the war in Ukraine is turning a once-sputtering portfolio of mines into prized assets, Bloomberg News said Tuesday.

In the 2000s commodities supercycle, Brazilian iron ore giant Vale SA made a $17 billion bet on a metal used mainly to make stainless steel, the agency noted. The purchase of Canadian nickel miner Inco Ltd., announced in 2006, was part of then-CEO Roger Agnelli’s goal of turning Vale into a diversified global heavyweight at a time of seemingly insatiable Chinese demand for raw materials.

That purchase, of course, included the former Inco’s extensive operations in Sudbury and its more than 4,000 employees.

As the nickel bull run turned into a stampede in early 2007, Agnelli’s aggressive outbidding of rivals for Inco’s sprawling deposits in Canada, Brazil, Indonesia and New Caledonia looked like a stroke of genius, Bloomerg said. But then prices crashed and the foray into nickel quickly become an albatross around Vale’s neck.

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