Archive | Nickel Laterites

Philippine nickel producer DMCI sees tough year with mine shut, inventory declining (Reuters U.K. – March 20, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

MANILA, March 21 (Reuters) – Philippine nickel producer DMCI Mining Corp, a unit of conglomerate DMCI Holdings Inc, on Thursday said it expected 2019 to be a tough year, with one of its two mines still suspended and its inventory almost depleted.

DMCI’s mines, operated by subsidiaries Berong Nickel Corp and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp, were among those ordered shut in 2016 when the government launched an industry-wide crackdown on miners as part of a push to ramp up environmental protection.

The closures and the threat of more mines being suspended in what, at the time, was the world’s top nickel ore supplier dramatically lifted prices for nickel. Continue Reading →

Column: Nickel rally fades, electric vehicle buzz doesn’t – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – February 12, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Was it another false dawn for the nickel market? Last week’s rally to a five-month high of $13,350 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange has gone into sharp reverse. Nickel was trading back at $12,385 on Tuesday.

The trigger for the price surge was concern that Brazilian producer Vale’s nickel operations would suffer some sort of knock-on effect from the devastating tailings collapse at the company’s Brumadinho iron ore mine.

Such fears have proved unfounded. So far. There may still be ramifications for Vale’s Onca Puma ferronickel operations in the state of Para. But nickel’s ability to rally at all in the current gloomy macroeconomic environment is testament to continued investor interest in the metal’s potential demand boost from the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. Continue Reading →

U.S. Loosing Global Battery Arms Race that is Critically Dependent on Nickel, Cobalt and Lithium – by Simon Moores (Benchmark Mineral Intelligence – February 5, 2019)

  • Written Testimony of Simon Moores, Managing Director, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
  • For: US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Committee
  • Hearing: Tuesday, February 5 2019, at 10:00a.m. Room 366, Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.
  • Subject: Outlook for energy and minerals markets in the 116th Congress.

We are in the midst of a global battery arms race in which the US is presently a bystander.

Since my last testimony only 14 months ago, we have reached a new gear in this energy storage revolution which is now having a profound impact on supply chains and the raw materials that fuel it.

The advent of electric vehicles (EVs) and the emergence of battery energy storage has sparked a wave of lithium ion battery megafactories being built. Continue Reading →

After Freeport, Indonesia eyes 20% of nickel [PT Vale Indonesia] firm’s shares (Jakarta Post – February 4, 2019)

https://www.thejakartapost.com/

After gaining control of 51.23 percent shares of gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia, the government is eyeing to gain a 20 percent stake in publicly listed nickel miner PT Vale Indonesia (INCO).

“We are certainly interested, but we have not assigned a company yet [to represent the government],” the SOEs Ministry’s undersecretary for mining, strategic industries and media affairs, Fajar Harry Sampurno, said in Jakarta on Friday as quoted by kontan.co.id.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s mineral director, Yunus Saefulhak, said the ministry had received INCO’s divestment proposal letter. He added that INCO had submitted its report to the Finance Ministry while sending its offer to the SOEs Ministry. Continue Reading →

Nickel prices must rise to meet battery demand: AABC (Argus Media.com – January 28, 2019)

https://www.argusmedia.com/en/

Higher nickel prices are required to incentivise supply of nickel sulphate for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, particularly given lower cobalt prices, delegates heard today at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) in Strasbourg, France.

Supply of nickel increased by 7pc last year to about 2.19mn t, but demand increased by 8pc to 2.33mn t, increasing the deficit to 147,000t, from 131,000t in 2017, said Denis Sharypin, head of market research at Russian producer Norilsk Nickel.

The battery sector accounted for 124,000t of consumption last year, and while overall nickel demand is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5pc to 2025, demand from the battery sector is estimated to climb at a CAGR of 18pc over the same period. Continue Reading →

Commentary: Flash LME nickel squeeze may be a taste of things to come – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – January 16, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Nickel bears have been sent running for cover by this week’s ferocious squeeze on the London Metal Exchange (LME). Short-dated time-spreads have flexed out to levels not seen in many years as a long-running decline in LME nickel stocks translates into cash-date tightness.

The resulting bear rout has halted a six-month downtrend in the outright nickel price. Bulls, however, should not get overly excited. There is as yet scant evidence this was anything other than a flash squeeze rather than a signal for higher prices.

But that is not to say there won’t be more such spread tension in the nickel market going forward. That nickel should be squeezed this week is no accident. Today is the LME’s “third-Wednesday” prime prompt date, the monthly clear-out of outstanding positions. Continue Reading →

Nickel Outlook 2019: No Boom, but Batteries Loom – by Scott Tibballs (Nickel Investor News – December 23, 2018)

Nickel Investor News

Nickel was as hard hit as other base metals in 2018 as investor sentiment bled the markets, leading to lower prices even as demand increased. Analysts predict that nickel prices will stay low through to 2019, barring any significant improvements in the seemingly deteriorating US-China trade rhetoric.

Additionally, the much-touted battery metal boom might well not happen in any meaningful way for nickel in the near term, as markets learn more about just how far the electric vehicle (EV) industry has to go, and how quickly consumers need to adopt new technology for the boom to materialize.

New developments throughout Australia and headaches for miners in the Philippines dominated supply-side news, while demand meant that over the year stockpiles were drawn down. Continue Reading →

Japan’s Sumitomo Metal sees global nickel deficit nearly halving in 2019 (Reuters U.S. – December 25, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

TOKYO, Dec 25 (Reuters) – A global nickel market deficit will nearly halve to 49,000 tonnes in 2019 from 93,000 tonnes this year on higher output of primary metals by global suppliers and of lower-grade nickel pig iron (NPI) in Indonesia, Sumitomo Metal Mining said on Tuesday.

Sumitomo Metal, Japan’s biggest nickel smelter, said global demand for nickel is seen increasing by 3.4 percent in 2019 from this year to 2.339 million tonnes, while supply is expected to climb 5.5 percent to 2.29 million tonnes.

“We expect to see higher demand for stainless steel and rechargeable batteries next year,” Masanori Ohyama, general manager of Sumitomo Metal’s nickel sales and raw materials department, told reporters. Continue Reading →

Cuba sees nickel output topping 50,000 tonnes (Reuters U.K. – December 13, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

HAVANA, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Cuba’s nickel plus cobalt sulfide production will top 50,000 tonnes this year and earnings are up over 2017, the head of the country’s state monopoly Cubaniquel was quoted by local media as stating on Wednesday.

Nickel is one of the cash-strapped Communist-run country’s most important exports, but revenue from it has suffered in recent years due to a decline in production and prices. The country was ranked 10th in world nickel production in 2017 and fifth in cobalt.

The government forecast last year’s output at 54,500 tonnes. Business sources with knowledge of the industry said final tonnage was around 50,000 tonnes of nickel plus cobalt, of which just over 4,000 tonnes was cobalt. Continue Reading →

Alistair Ross stepping down as head of Vale Canadian mining operations, including those in Thompson – by Kyle Darbyson (Thompson Citizen – December 13, 2018)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Vale’s management structure in Canada continues to change with the company recently announcing that Alistair Ross will step down as the director of North Atlantic mining operations by the end of the month when his contract expires. According to a Dec. 11 Vale memo, Mike McCann, who has worked for the Brazilian mining giant in Sudbury for the last six years, will replace Ross Jan 1.

“Mike has done a superb job leading processing operations across the North Atlantic and Asia, delivering value projects and achieving production and safety improvements in a number of areas across our business,” said Ricus Grimbeek, chief operating officer for Vale Base Metals, in that memo. “I have every confidence that Mike will continue his track record of success leading our mining and milling operations.”

This move is the latest change to Vale’s Thompson management, which began back in July when Manitoba Operations vice-president Mark Scott’s position was eliminated. Ross was given the responsibility of overseeing Vale’s Canadian operations in Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador at that time. Continue Reading →

Public Power saves Greek nickel producer Larco from immediate shutdown (Reuters U.S. – December 12, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s Public Power Corp. (PPC) (DEHr.AT) will not cut the electricity supply to Larco before the start of the new year as the government works on a plan to avert a closure of Europe’s biggest nickel producer, the utility said late on Wednesday.

Larco, which is 55 percent owned by the Greek state, owes about 280 million euros ($319 million) in unpaid electricity bills to state-controlled power utility PPC, also a minority shareholder in the company.

PPC said on Wednesday it will continue to supply Larco with electricity until the end of the year after the Greek energy ministry intervened. Continue Reading →

Vale doubles down on nickel ahead of EV revolution – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – December 7, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Vale, the Brazilian mining giant built on supplying the world’s steel mills with iron ore, is now betting on the electric vehicle (EV) revolution to turn its nickel division around.

“We believe in this revolution to come,” Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman told analysts at the company’s investor day presentation in New York this week. The use of nickel in lithium ion batteries will translate into at least 500,000 tonnes of extra demand by 2025, according to Vale, which is planning to play a leading role in meeting the additional need for high-grade metal.

However, to do so, it will have to turn around its troubled New Caledonian operations, a task described by Schvartsman as “maybe our biggest challenge”. It will also have to gamble that Chinese players led by the Tsingshan steel group don’t make the technological breakthrough that would allow them to convert nickel ore straight into battery-grade nickel. Continue Reading →

Going green is not that easy for electric vehicles – by John Dizard (Financial Times – December 7, 2018)

https://www.ft.com/

Politics and supply chain difficulties suggest European battery push is too frenetic to work well

“For the European auto companies to change over to electric vehicles is like turning a battleship. And it’s a battleship with a mutinous crew.”

As the European policy world noticed with this week’s French government surrender on diesel taxes, going green is not that easy.

It will become even more difficult as EV production scales up. The problems are not only with public support for decarbonisation charges but with the increased burden on raw material supplies. Continue Reading →

20% drop in PH nickel output seen in 2019 – by Eireene Jairee Gomez (Manila Times – December 6, 2018)

Manila Times

The country’s nickel mine production is expected to decrease by up to 20 percent next year due to various regulations set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as well as the movement of nickel prices in the world market.

“It’s likely that the production would be reduced [by] 10 to 20 percent,” said Dante Bravo, president of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), in a press conference in Quezon City on Wednesday.

Nickel mine output for this year reached about 30 million wet metric tons (WMT) or 19.5 million MT, after separation from the fluid. In 2017, nickel production was 36 million WMT or 23.4 million MT. Continue Reading →

Brazil’s Vale to pump $500 million into nickel mine, ends partner quest – by Rodrigo Campos (Reuters U.S. – December 4, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Brazilian miner Vale SA (VALE3.SA), the world’s top nickel producer, plans to invest $500 million in its struggling New Caledonia nickel mine on its own after previously vowing to find a partner for the venture.

Vale’s decision to invest in the project alone, from 2019 to 2022, reflects the company’s new understanding of the importance of an expected surge in electric vehicle (EV) sales, Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman said on Tuesday.

“The decision to continue on our own was made because (New Caledonia) could be a very important part of strategy to supply nickel especially given the EV revolution,” he told journalists after Vale’s investor day presentation in New York. “We thought initially that we could have a partner but it was in a moment when we had no clarity on the incoming EV revolution.” Continue Reading →