The billionaire at the center of last year’s nickel short squeeze is planning a major shift in his production mix, in a move that could reshape global supply dynamics and inject fresh volatility into the battered nickel market.
Xiang Guangda’s Tsingshan Holding Group Co. is seeking to profit from an unusually large premium in the price of refined nickel metal – the type that is deliverable on exchanges in London and Shanghai – over the intermediate forms that Tsingshan supplies for battery manufacturing, according to people familiar with the matter.
Tsingshan, which is already building facilities to produce refined nickel in Indonesia, is in discussions with several struggling Chinese copper plants about processing its material into the more-valuable refined metal, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
If successful, Tsingshan’s plan, together with similar moves by its peers, could double Chinese refined nickel production this year, from about 180,000 tons in 2022 — adding roughly a fifth to global refined output.
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