Archive | Nickel Laterites

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

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 ( – November 12, 2018)

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 →

Brazilian Official: Mining Projects Are ‘National Priorities’ – by Neils Christensen (Kitco News – November 5, 2018)

(Kitco News) – While the world continues to react to the election of Brazilian populist president Jair Bolsonaro, some government officials don’t expect this to have much impact on the nation’s plan to develop its national resource.

In an exclusive interview with Kitco News ahead of the October runoff election, Pedro Bruno Barros De Souza, secretary of public policy coordination, said that the government’s Investment Partnership Program (IPP) is bigger than any one political leader. He added that the government, no matter who is in charge, is committed to developing the nation’s natural resources responsibly.

“Brazil has a lot of mineral potential and there are many opportunities for investors and companies who want to work with the government to develop those resources,” he said. “The Brazilian government has been working diligently on its governance to create a stable legal, regulatory framework, so investors will find a positive business environment.” Continue Reading →

New Caledonians vote down independence to stay part of France – by Charlotte Antoine (CTV News – November 4, 2018)

The Associated Press – NOUMEA, New Caledonia – A majority of voters in the South Pacific territory of New Caledonia chose to remain part of France instead of backing independence Sunday, a watershed moment that led French President Emmanuel Macron to promise a full dialogue on the archipelago’s future.

Final results had 56.4 per cent of the voters who participated in the referendum deciding to maintain ties with the country that has ruled New Caledonia since the mid-19th century and 43.6 per cent supporting independence, the high commissioner’s office said.

“I’m asking everyone to turn toward the future to build tomorrow’s New Caledonia,” Macron said, speaking from the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris. “The spirit of dialogue is the sole winner.” Continue Reading →

‘We live in misery’: New Caledonia’s indigenous people fight for independence from France – by Kim Lévy and Prianka Srinivasan in Thio (The Guardian – November 1, 2018)

As the country prepares for a referendum on 4 November, the scars of colonisation are still raw

Just over 16,700km from Paris, on the edge of the southwest Pacific Ocean, lies a little piece of France. In New Caledonia, locals eat croissants for breakfast, crêpes for lunch and in the afternoons play pétanque in shady city squares. They drive on the right, speak fluent French and the outskirts of the capital Nouméa are dotted with hypermarchés.

But this far-flung outpost of Gallic life might not be officially French for much longer. On Sunday, residents of the cluster of islands will vote on their future in an independence referendum. For the locals of mining town Thio, which lies two hours east of Nouméa, that moment cannot come soon enough.

Thio was once the shining jewel of France’s Pacific colonial project. The state-run mining company, SLN, began its operations there in 1880, less than three decades after New Caledonia became an overseas territory of France. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China’s Tsingshan rains on nickel bulls’ party – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – October 30, 2018)

LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Has nickel lost its electric buzz? Bull spirits had been galvanised by the potential boost to demand from the electric vehicle revolution. Nickel is expected to be one of the winners in the battle for more efficient batteries.

The price of nickel on the London Metal Exchange surged by 63 percent between October 2017 and April 2018, hitting a three-year high of $16,690 per tonne. It is now trading at $11,750.

Trade war anxiety has played its part in the price fall. But nickel has its own worries. Assumptions as to how both nickel’s price and supply chain would need to adapt to the new electric demand driver have just been upended. Continue Reading →

Battery Metal Bulls Fear China’s Big Disrupter to Hit Nickel – by Mark Burton and Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – October 28, 2018)

Commodity traders expect nickel, the silvery-white metal used to make stainless steel, to be a winner from the electric-vehicle revolution — it’s a key component of batteries.

But a Chinese metals giant with a knack of upending markets is threatening to spoil the party. Tsingshan Holding Group announced last month it’s building an Indonesian plant to produce nickel-cobalt salts for the battery market.

Transforming the Southeast Asian nation’s low-grade deposits into “class 1” metal — the equivalent of turning cheap table wine into a prized vintage — would disrupt the bullish narrative that’s helped shield nickel from a broader selloff in metal markets this year. Continue Reading →

Flow of LME nickel to hidden storage dents bull story – by Eric Onstad (Reuters U.K. – October 19, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – The bulk of nickel moving out of London Metal Exchange-approved warehouses in Asia is showing up in hidden facilities in Europe, analysts said, denting a bullish scenario of potential shortages.

LME nickel stocks have shrunk by about 40 percent this year, largely from warehouses in Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore, but much of that metal is not being consumed, industry sources and analysts said.

Nickel is mainly used to make stainless steel, but forecasts show that more will be needed for electric vehicle batteries in coming years. It has been the LME’s top performer this year and prices were up 25 percent in June, before the wider market was hit by macroeconomic worries. Continue Reading →

Brazilian miner Vale will not chase big acquisitions – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – October 16, 2018)

Brazilian mining company Vale will deploy its cash wisely and “does not need” to chase big acquisitions because it has a big opportunity to grow organically in nickel.

Speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, Vale chief executive Fabio Schvartsman said big dealmaking “adventures” were not on his agenda and any acquisitions would be small bolt on deals, probably in iron ore.

“We don’t need to do it given the potential of our nickel business,” he said. Although Vale is best known for its huge iron ore business, it is also the world’s biggest producer of nickel, a metal that will be needed in greater quantities as electric vehicles go mainstream. Continue Reading →

China battery firms set up $700 million nickel joint venture in Indonesia – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – September 28, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese battery firm GEM Co Ltd on Friday said it was teaming up with four companies to invest a total of $700 million in a project to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals in Indonesia.

The investment comes as several global metals producers have also set their sights on Indonesia’s nickel reserves, looking to tap an expected surge in demand for the battery metal from the electric vehicle sector.

The companies joining GEM include units of top Chinese lithium battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) and stainless steel-maker Tsingshan Holding Group. Continue Reading →

Vale: Embracing The Electric Vehicle Revolution (Seeking Alpha – September 24, 2018)

Vale’s (VALE) iron ore operations have been by far the main driver of the company’s performance. Because of this, the Base Metals division tends to fly under the radar, despite Vale being the world’s largest producer of nickel.

However, Vale has big plans for its nickel and copper divisions, and the Brazilian company has identified the rise of electric vehicle and renewables as an important growth driver, especially in nickel. The main focus of this article will be the nickel developments, but we will also touch on copper. Both should help the Base Metals division contribute meaningfully to earnings from 2020.

Base Metals’ contribution is still modest, but rising

Investors can be forgiven for paying more attention to the Ferrous Minerals division, which includes iron ore and related metals. This segment is by far the main contributor to Vale’s performance. The company’s latest quarterly publication, for Q2 2018, confirms the weight of Ferrous Minerals: Continue Reading →

Silkroad Nickel inks heads of agreement for joint venture to build smelter facilities in Sulawesi – by Vivien Shiao (Business Times – September 19, 2018)

CATALIST-LISTED Indonesian nickel mining group Silkroad Nickel announced that its subsidiary PT Teknik Alum Service (PT TAS), and PT Artabumi Sentra Industri (PT ASI) have entered into a non-binding heads of agreement with PT Anugrah Tambang Smelter for its entire equity interest.

Through the acquisition, it aims to build and operate smelter facilities for the production of nickel pig iron on the group’s mine site in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

PT Anugrah Tambang Smelter, a limited liability company established under Indonesian law, holds valid principle and location permit licences for the construction of a smelter factory in Buleleng Village, Bungku Pesisir Subdistrict, Morowali Regency, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Nickel’s “electric premium” crushed by trade tensions – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – September 18, 2018)

LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Nickel has finally succumbed to the base metals price rout. It is still the best year-to-date performer among the core six metals traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME)

But at a current $12,400 per tonne, LME three-month metal is, like the rest of the pack, now trading below year-start levels. The excitement around the potential boost to nickel demand from its use in electric vehicle batteries hasn’t been completely dispelled.

But the “electric premium” in the price has been crushed by the broader market concerns about the escalating trade stand-off between the United States and China.

The tensions between nickel’s electric future and the metal’s current stainless steel reality are all too evident and if anything are going to become more acute the further the price falls. Continue Reading →

The rare rainforest tree that bleeds metal ( – September 17, 2018)

Pycnandra acuminata is a rare tree native to the shrinking rainforests of New Caledonia that has the rare ability to collect large quantities of nickel from the ground. Its blue-green sap reportedly contains up to 25% nickel.

Trees, or plants in general for that matter, and heavy metals like nickel and zinc don’t really go well together, and that’s what makes Pycnandra acuminata and a few other rare tress species known as “hyperaccumulators” so special.

They have somehow evolved to suck out normally toxic levels of heavy metals from the soil and store it in their stems, leaves and seeds. Unfortunately, heavy deforestation in New Caledonia has put this remarkable tree on the list of endangered trees before scientists could even figure out how and why it can tolerate such high quantities of nickel in its latex-like sap. Continue Reading →