Archive | Nickel Laterites

COLUMN-Confusing signals cloud London nickel market – by Andy Home (Reuters Africa – May 20, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) – The London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel market was last week gripped by the most acute tightness in a decade. Time-spreads flexed into backwardation as a long-running downtrend in exchange stocks squeezed short position holders.

Falling inventory and tighter spreads are normally strong bull signals in a commodity market. And in nickel’s case they seem to tally nicely with the International Nickel Study Group’s (INSG) forecast that supply will fall short of usage for the fourth successive year in 2019.

However, conspicuous by its absence is any strength in the outright nickel price, which has fallen from a March high of $13,765 per tonne to a current $11,910. Continue Reading →

Japan’s SMM aims to double battery material capacity in nine years – by Yuka Obayashi (Reuters U.S. – May 17, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese miner and smelter Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd (SMM) aims to more than double its production capacity of cathode materials used in batteries for automobiles by March 2028, its president Akira Nozaki said on Friday.

SMM, which also makes electrical materials, supplies the nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) cathode materials used in Panasonic Corp’s lithium-ion battery that powers Tesla Inc’s Model 3 and Model X cars.

The Japanese company plans to boost its output capacity of cathode materials to 10,000 tonnes a month by end-March 2028, from 4,550 tonnes a month now, Nozaki told an analyst meeting. Continue Reading →

[Philippines Mining] Gov’t to go after big mining firms anew – by Madelaine B.Miraflor Manila Bulletin – May 2, 2019)

https://business.mb.com.ph/

Some of the big mining companies who already passed the first round of government-led mining audit will not be off the hook in the second round of mining audit happening this year. In fact, the forthcoming audit, which is expected to start in a few weeks, is mostly going to be about them.

Environment Undersecretary for Mining Concerns Analiza Rebuelta-Teh said that as much as 17 mining companies will be reviewed in the second batch of Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) audit. Of this, 12 mining companies already passed the audit carried by former Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez in 2016.

Based on the list obtained by Business Bulletin, the mining companies to be reviewed in the second round of audit include Philex Mining Corporation, Agata Mining Ventures, Inc., Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation, SR Metals, Inc., Apex Mining Company, Cagdianao Mining Corporation, and Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Eramet gets go-ahead to boost New Caledonia nickel exports, shares rise (Reuters U.S. – April 16, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

PARIS, April 16 (Reuters) – French mining company Eramet said its loss-making SLN nickel division had received a boost from the New Caledonia government approving a sharp rise in SLN’s nickel ore exports. Eramet shares rose around 5 percent in early trading.

The company said the decision would allow SLN to export its lower-grade nickel ore, which in turn would allow SLN to cut its costs. It added the move would help it execute a broader strategy plan to reduce SLN’s cash cost by $1.30 per lb by 2021.

“I would like to thank the government of New Caledonia and all the stakeholders who contributed to this decision,” said Eramet Chairman and CEO Christel Bories. “This is a sign of confidence in the successful implementation of the SLN rescue plan.” Continue Reading →

Indonesia battery-grade nickel plant awaits environmental nod- developer – by Fransiska Nangoy and Wilda Asmarini (Reuters U.S. – April 5, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

JAKARTA, April 5 (Reuters) – Indonesia’s first plant to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals is on track to start operations by 2020, though the project still needs an environmental permit that could take up to eight months to be approved, the developer told Reuters.

China’s Tsingshan Group and partners including GEM Co Ltd are building a $700 million high pressure acid leaching (HPAL) plant at the PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP) on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, a nickel mining hub.

Ground breaking started in January on the plant, which is due to be completed within 16 to 18 months and will allow Indonesia to export nickel sulphate, a component for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs). Continue Reading →

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 →