Archive | Nickel Laterites

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 →

Below $5: Slumping nickel prices should rebound in three or four months, analyst says – by Darren MacDonald (Sudbury Northern Life – November 23, 2018)

https://www.sudbury.com/

‘We all know batteries for electric vehicles are going to be very important new demand source of nickel’

After surging this past spring by 75 per cent, nickel prices have sagged badly in recent weeks, and the price per pound dropped below $5 on Thursday.

The slump follows predictions of higher prices in 2018, a disappointment for an industry that has waited years to recover. It’s especially important in Greater Sudbury, where mining employs about 17,500 people directly or indirectly.

So what’s going on? Terry Ortslan, a nickel analyst at TSO and Associates in Montreal, said Thursday the industry is facing a double whammy that’s depressing prices. While the market for stainless steel wasn’t expected to drive the price, demand for the higher-grade nickel needed for electric car batteries has hit a few speed bumps. Continue Reading →

Vale ordered to compensate indigenous tribes in Brazil (Mining-Technology – November 20, 2018)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

A Brazilian court has ordered multinational metals and mining company Vale to pay compensation to two indigenous tribes living in the northern state of Pará for damaging the health of local people and the environment.

The court has also ordered the company to suspend its nickel-extracting operations in the region, Reuters reported.

As per the order, the company needs to fulfil certain environmental requirements and submit plans to mitigate and compensate indigenous peoples before resuming iron or nickel mining operations at its Onça Puma project, according to Brazil’s prosecutor-general’s office. Continue Reading →

Ni & Co CONFERENCE: Nine key takeaways from Xiamen – by Charlotte Radford, Susan Zou and Violet Li (Metal Bulletin – November 12, 2018)

https://www.metalbulletin.com/

The spotlight was in Xiamen last week when market participants gathered to discuss hot topics in the cobalt and nickel markets, including higher cobalt prices and their impact on the market in addition to new trends for the cobalt industry.

High prices do not hurt the overall use of cobalt in consumer electronics

Cobalt prices hit a near 10-year high in April, but the blue metal’s high prices will not lead to many cobalt substitutions in consumer electronics, according to battery manufacturer ATL’s procurement director, Xu Shihui.

Cobalt demand from the consumer electronics industry will continue to grow due to new trends, including the intact adoption of lithium-cobalt-oxide (LCO) batteries in laptops and smart phones. Continue Reading →

Sherritt International sees jump in nickel production and profit – by Amanda Stutt (Mining.com – November 12, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

Sherritt International, (TSE: S) has released its 2018 Q3 report, and the numbers are up, thanks to the success of the company’s Moa joint venture (JV) with the Cuban Government.

Sherritt specializes in mining and refining of nickel and cobalt from lateritic ores, and the company also has projects and operations in Canada and Madagascar.

Pathe says the jump in numbers was largely due to higher realized nickel and cobalt prices. Cobalt is mined as a by-product of nickel, and acts as a stabilizing component in the lithium-ion battery cell structure. The average-reference price for nickel improved 26% from last year to $6.01/lb while the average-reference price for cobalt increased 22% to reach $35.21/lb. Continue Reading →

Nickel and No to Independence: New Caledonia Sticks to France – by Scott Tibballs (Nickel Investing News – November 6th, 2018)

Nickel Investment News

The French Territory of New Caledonia has voted to remain with the Fifth Republic, returning a 56 percent ‘no’ vote on becoming an independent state.
New Caledonia is the world’s third-largest nickel supplier with an annual output of 210,000 metric tonnes.

Mining and smelting is the backbone of the territories economy and would be the basis of the economy of a potentially future independent New Caledonia — a possibility still on the cards as the Noumea Accords signed in 1998 promised three referendums.

For the small pacific territory though, independence from Paris — which provides subsidies — would mean being exposed completely to the volatile nickel price, which has haunted miners in recent years. Continue Reading →