Archive | Nickel Laterites

New Century in talks with Brazil’s Vale over nickel-cobalt mine sale – by Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald – May 26, 2020)

Australia’s New Century Resources is in exclusive talks with Brazilian mining giant Vale to take over its troubled nickel and cobalt mine in New Caledonia under a proposed deal that contains a financial contribution from Vale and possible support from the French government.

New Century chief executive Patrick Walta said the company had entered into a 60-day exclusivity period to negotiate the acquisition of a 95 per cent ownership stake in Vale’s Goro mine in the south-west Pacific nation, which has been plagued by problems, delays and cost blow-outs for Vale since mining operations began there in 2011.

Under the proposed deal, Melbourne-based New Century would be effectively paid to take ownership of the Goro mine, with the value of financial contributions from Vale and the potential forgiveness of debts from the French state estimated to be in the vicinity of $1 billion. Continue Reading →

New Century mulls trip to New Caledonia – by Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Tim Boyd (Australian Financial Review – May 20, 2020)

New Century Resources is getting ready to spend some nickels (and dimes).  Street Talk understands the ASX-listed mining player is close to buying a New Caledonian operating nickel mine off the world’s largest iron ore and nickel producer, Vale.

While a deal had not yet been signed on Wednesday evening, sources said it was close to being finalised and expected an announcement in the coming days. New Century’s shares went into a trading halt on Tuesday, regarding “a potential material acquisition”.

The mine in question – called Goro – is located in southern New Caledonia in the South Pacific and has been on the market for the past six months. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Nickel investing comes with a heavy price – by John Dizard (Financial Times – May 15, 2020)

Financial gloomsters have been in much better spirits lately. While the world’s health and economy are in deep trouble, contrarians can now prove they were right all along.

Momentary self-satisfaction at the extent of predicted ruins, though, must be succeeded by some useful observations, such as, what do we do next? A coherent macro view is a start, but even as the financial system teeters towards destructive deflation, it may be possible to identify a few assets, or industries, where real prices and real returns might increase. We will need the money.

I have thought for some time that it would be impossible to shift the auto industry to an electric vehicle future without moving quickly to increase metals production in an environmentally, financially and socially sustainable way. Continue Reading →

Vale mulling offers for New Caledonia nickel assets – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 29, 2020)

Vale (NYSE: VALE), the world’s top producer of nickel and iron ore, has received non-binding offers for its operations on the Pacific island of New Caledonia, it said in a conference call on Wednesday.

The Brazilian mining giant said it expected to have “relevant news” on the topic within a month or two.

Vale put its New Caledonia nickel assets on the block in December. The decision came after it had to write down $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter related to the ailing mines, the world’s biggest nickel operations. Continue Reading →

Nickel Exploration and Mining – outlook and update – by Kathrine Moore (Resource World – April 28, 2020)

NICKEL IS A BASE METAL with many uses; from coins to skyscrapers it is part of our daily life, including the kitchen sink. But not all nickel is equal. Different types of nickel are used for different purposes. Mark Jarvis, CEO of Giga Metals, spoke to Resource World about the nickel industry, nickel demand and types of nickel.

According to Jarvis, 70% of all nickel produced is used to feed stainless-steel mills. Most of that nickel is class 2 nickel, including nickel pig iron, an iron nickel alloy, a type of low-grade ferro-nickel. A small amount of class 1 or pure nickel, on average 5% of the nickel units, is necessary for steel making,

All other uses of nickel require class 1 nickel, including storage batteries and batteries that power electric vehicles. Jarvis explained that class 1 nickel is nickel that can be economically upgraded to 99.9% nickel or better. Continue Reading →

Column: Lockdowns and low prices generate nickel supply shock – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – April 27, 2020)

LONDON (Reuters) – If the boredom has well and truly set in after weeks of travel restrictions and social distancing, you could always join metal traders in a game of lockdown lottery.

Metals have priced in the demand shock, or at least the first-stage demand shock, rippling around the world with the spread of COVID-19. The index of the major base metals traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME) bottomed out on March 23 and has since rebounded by 7%.

Now the game is to assess the size of the supply shock to follow as national lockdowns force mines to curtail operations while low prices push some higher-cost operators out of the market altogether. Continue Reading →

Nickel prices on a roller-coaster ride – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – April 25, 2020)

With so many factors at play around the world, the price of nickel is heading back up after looking to drop below the US $5 a pound mark just a few weeks ago.

The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, has shuttered economies and cut into global demand for nickel. At the same time, Indonesia has banned the export of nickel ore, which will tighten supplies and affect large nickel purchaser China.

On Friday, nickel closed at $5.50 a pound, close to the average world price of nickel in March, which was $5.40 a pound. About three months ago, however, nickel was selling for almost $6.50 a pound. Continue Reading →

BofA sees nickel taking big COVID-19 hit – by Henry Lazenby (Mining Journal – April 2020)

With global GDP forecast to grow at just 0.3% this year, translating into a 2.8% year-on-year contraction to nickel demand, about 150,000 tonnes of surplus metal or 10% of global supply could accumulate.

Industry players including Vale, Sumitomo, Glencore and South32 have all shown concern over nickel fundamentals, prompting production responses that “should ultimately limit the supply overhang”, according to the bank.

“Similar to copper, we therefore believe prices could rally, when a treatment (not necessarily a vaccine) is found or the isolation measures show success,” BofA said. Continue Reading →

Bondholders poised to reject Sherritt’s restructuring plan – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – April 2, 2020)

Lenders to Sherritt International Corp. plan to turn down the nickel miner’s proposed restructuring plan, partly on concerns the deal would set a poor precedent for future showdowns with debt-heavy companies grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toronto-based Sherritt borrowed heavily to build mines in Cuba and Madagascar, with some of its projects costing far more than expected. With nickel prices in a slump for more than a decade, Sherritt has made paying down debt a priority for the past five years. In February, the company announced what it called a “comprehensive solution to its liquidity challenges.”

The miner’s debenture owners, a group that includes insurance companies and asset managers, are scheduled to vote April 9 on a recapitalization in which they would exchange $588-million of debt due over the next five years for new paper worth $319-million that matures in seven years. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Philippines’ nickel mining hub to suspend operations due to coronavirus – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – March 31, 2020)

MANILA, March 31 (Reuters) – Mining operations in the Philippines’ southern province of Surigao del Norte, home to most of the country’s nickel mines, will be suspended from April 1 as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, two mining companies said on Tuesday.

Nickel Asia Corp and Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc, the Southeast Asian country’s two biggest nickel ore miners and exporters, said in separate statements that they received a copy of the suspension order dated March 28 from the provincial government.

The two miners account for more than half of the country’s nickel ore output. Nickel Asia said the suspension order also covers the entry of foreign vessels to Surigao del Norte. The nearby province of Dinagat Islands, which also hosts nickel mines, has banned vessels shipping ore to China, local media has reported. Continue Reading →

JPMorgan Reaped $100 Million as China Squeezed Niche Nickel Market – by Alfred Cang, Jack Farchy and Mark Burton (Bloomberg News – March 11, 2020)

JPMorgan Chase & Co. made about $100 million trading nickel last year, according to people familiar with the situation, as it benefited from a price spike on the back of a Chinese-led supply squeeze.

The blowout year in nickel underscores JPMorgan’s growing dominance in a corner of the commodities markets that rivals have retreated. The bank has become the go-to financier for big deals in base metals, from the Chinese nickel purchases that sparked last year’s price surge, to hedging transactions for carmakers, which need the metal for electric-vehicle batteries. A spokesman for JPMorgan declined to comment.

Nickel, usually a niche market dominated by stainless steel mills, became the world’s hottest metal in 2019 when prices jumped by two-thirds in a matter of months. Continue Reading →

Ambatovy ‘exit’ will not affect nickel, cobalt output in Madagascar, Sherritt says ( – March 10, 2020)

Sherritt International Corp is to exit the Ambatovy joint venture in Madagascar, but its decision will not affect nickel or cobalt production at the mine, the Canadian company confirmed to Fastmarkets on Tuesday March 10.

The Canadian miner announced on February 26, 2019 that it would not fund its 12% stake in the Ambatovy JV, with Japan’s Sumitomo Corp and South Korea’s Korea Resources Corp (Kores), to protect Sherritt’s balance sheet after Ambatovy made a cash call to boost its short-term liquidity. Sherritt subsequently announced that it had become a defaulting shareholder on March 6, 2019.

First refusal to fund Sherritt’s 12% share in Ambatovy will now pass to Sumitomo and Kores, while Sherritt itself will lose voting rights and influence on operations at a local level as per the terms of a default under the shareholders agreement. Continue Reading →

Global nickel production to decline significantly in 2020 – Fitch Solutions – by Simone Liedike ( – March 6, 2020)

Research agency Fitch Solutions expects global nickel production to decrease significantly over the course of this year, as major producer Indonesia’s nickel ore export ban comes into effect.

The ban in Indonesia was announced in September 2019, bringing it forward to go into effect from January this year instead of January 2022. As a result, Fitch expects global nickel ore production to decrease by 60% year-on-year to 269-million tonnes this year.

This compares with the agency’s previous forecast of 15% growth in global nickel ore output this year. Production growth in the Philippines, where some currently suspended mines will become operational again as the country aims to plug the supply gap caused by the Indonesian export ban, will offset the lower Indonesian output to some extent. Continue Reading →

Tesla’s China surprise big blow for cobalt, nickel price bulls – by Frik Els ( – February 19, 2020)

Long-suffering cobalt bulls were dealt another blow on Wednesday after reports that the world’s largest electric carmaker is shifting some production of its most popular model away from batteries that contain nickel and cobalt.

In a surprise move, China’s top battery manufacturer CATL will supply Tesla with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries for its Model 3 production at its newly built $2 billion factory outside Shanghai.

The Model 3 is Tesla’s most popular, and the US-made version uses the company’s nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) cathode chemistry. Most other automakers favour nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) cathode chemistries. Continue Reading →

‘Transformation’ is in the air at Vale – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – February 12, 2020)

Electric vehicle market, carbon neutral plans, environmental safeguards part of Sudbury miner’s current and future operations

The thrust of Dino Otranto’s presentation was on the transformational challenges ahead for base metal mining giant Vale to create a business that’s sustainable in the Sudbury basin for generations to come.

But the opening image he flashed to a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce lunchtime crowd on Feb. 11 was of the Brumadinho tailings dam break at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine in Brazil on Jan. 25, 2019. It was the company’s second major dam breach in that country in four years.

The man-made environmental catastrophe at Brumadinho produced a toxic mudflow that swept away the company’s offices, and houses, farms and roads in a nearby village, and contaminated a major river system. Continue Reading →