Archive | Nickel Laterites

Mining Companies Call Themselves Green in Push for Investor Cash – by Scott Patterson (Wall Street Journal – June 8, 2021)

Mining companies are trying to tap into the flood of cash targeting green investments by touting their production of materials that go into wind turbines, power lines and batteries.

They are playing down the environmental impact of their operations and, for many of them, their big businesses mining coal.

The International Energy Agency said in a May report that while coal mining will decrease dramatically in the coming years, “the mining of minerals needed for clean energy transitions increases very rapidly” in a global economy focused on bringing down carbon emissions. Continue Reading →

Indonesians Demand Government Match Words with Action and Ditch Ocean Dumping – by Ellen Moore ( – June 7, 2021)


Less than a year ago, two major nickel EV battery chemical processing plants planned to dump 31 million tonnes of toxic mine waste into the Coral Triangle, threatening fragile and endangered coral reefs and subsistence fishing communities.

Today, both projects have withdrawn their permits to dump mine waste into the ocean, and the Indonesian government has publicly committed not to issue permits for the harmful practice. But there is still work to do.

Earthworks is collaborating with Action for Ecology and People’s Emancipation (AEER) to ensure the Indonesian government uphold its promise to prohibit all future submarine tailings disposal. Until then, the risks to downstream users, financial backers, and most of all communities and the marine environment, remain. Continue Reading →

The future of Canada’s nickel supply is NOT Indonesia – by Richard (Rick) Mills (A Head Of The – June 2, 2021)


China says it has found a way to make “green” nickel chemical for EV batteries from nickel laterite deposits in Indonesia that could help to alleviate the coming supply deficit in the metal that is essential to electric vehicle batteries.

Don’t be fooled. The process itself is extremely polluting, and ‘ocean tailings ponds’ are anything but green. Thankfully car companies aren’t buying it. Future nickel supply for battery-making is therefore unlikely to come from Indonesia or anywhere else where nickel laterites are mined.

EVs coming to Canada

Canada is in the beginning stages of developing an electric vehicle supply chain that capitalizes on the country’s rich battery metals endowment and cheap hydro-electric power particularly in Quebec and British Columbia. Continue Reading →

Copper roars past $4.60 as resource nationalism grips market – by Richard (Rick) Mills – Kitco News – June 1, 2021)

A number of happenings in the copper market conspired to elevate the spot price beyond $4.60 a pound on Thursday, confirming Ahead of the Herd’s suspicions that a new wave of resource nationalism in some of the largest copper-producing nations is washing over the sector.

Resource nationalism is the tendency of governments to assert control, for strategic and economic reasons, over natural resources located on their territories. It has been identified as one of the key risks for investors in the natural resources space.

With the copper price soaring on tight supply and heavy demand, as the world’s biggest economies revive following a year of coronavirus-related restrictions, the temptation for producer nations to cash in on more valuable copper reserves to pay for social programs is proving hard to resist. Continue Reading →

Indonesia On Track To Dominate The Supply Of Nickel To Make Batteries – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – June 2, 2021)

Indonesia is on track to become the world’s nickel capital with new projects potentially lifting the country’s share of the important stainless steel and battery metal ingredient to a whopping 60% of global output later this decade.

Much of the planned investment is linked to Chinese companies keen to cement their grip on stainless steel production and to meet fast growing demand for batteries which require a range of new-energy metals such as nickel, lithium, cobalt and copper.

The pace of growth in the Indonesia nickel sector can best be measured by an investment bank forecast that the country could lift its share of worldwide nickel production from 28% to 60% inside the next eight years. Continue Reading →

HPAL Nickel Tailings Question Still Unanswered – by Anthony Milewaski (The Assay – May 26, 2021)


In the post-COVID-19 global economic recovery, unprecedented stimulus plans by governments look to accelerate the emerging “Green Economy”.

This approach will ultimately pivot on the metals used to make batteries, and specifically lithium-ion batteries – the current and next generation battery chemistry of choice.

Ironically, lithium-ion batteries actually comprise anything from 30% to 80% nickel, with only a minute proportion being lithium. As a result, it will be nickel mining that plays the leading, mission-critical role. Continue Reading →

POLLUTION: Indonesia has a long way to go to produce nickel sustainably – by Ian Morse (China Dialogue – May 28, 2021)

China Dialogue

When Indonesian officials said they were meeting with Tesla representatives at the end of last year, they had already spent years wooing the company toward the metals locked in their rainforest soils.

The abundance of metals like nickel and cobalt on Indonesia’s islands could calm worries that the electric vehicle (EV) industry would confront resource bottlenecks in building millions of batteries.

But earlier this year, Tesla seemed to have other interests. The US company advanced deals in nickel from the Pacific islands of New Caledonia as well as in manufacturing its cars in India, suggesting to market observers that Indonesia’s nickel industry had become too risky. A company branded on clean products may be particularly sensitive to increased scrutiny on the environmental impacts of its supply chain. Continue Reading →

Global Mining Symposium: Demand for nickel in EV batteries could lead to supply shortage in the next couple of years, says McKinsey’s Ken Hoffman – by Carl A. Williams (Northern Miner – May 22, 2021)

Global mining news

The growing market for electric vehicles is likely to see increased pressure for nickel, a critical component for the nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries used in EVs, Ken Hoffman, senior expert at McKinsey’s Basic Materials Institute, said during The Northern Miner’s Global Mining Symposium in May.

In an interview with Frik Els, executive editor of, Hoffman said that sales of EVs reached over 3 million units last year, up from around 22,000 a decade ago.

“If it weren’t for a shortage of [micro]chips in 2021, you’d probably be looking at six to seven million EVs sold by the end of this year,” he said. Continue Reading →

Vale mulls base metals spinoff to tap EV market – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 27, 2021)

Brazil’s Vale (NYSE: VALE), the world’s no.1 nickel producer, is evaluating a potential spinoff of its base metals division as part of the miner’s growing interest in the electric vehicles (EV) sector.

The company, which is said to be in talks with Tesla and other EV supply chain actors about securing nickel from its Canadian operations, is in the midst of expanding its Voisey’s Bay site in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Vale’s plans include adding an underground mine to the Voisey’s Bay complex, which will produce about 40,000 tonnes of nickel-in-concentrate per year. Continue Reading →

The West needs to level the playing field to compete with China – by Anthony Milewski (Northern Miner – April 23, 2021)

Global mining news

Access to the raw materials of the new green economy is increasingly a high-stakes chess match along geopolitical lines dividing the East and the West. China controls access to the bulk of raw and midstream materials that the world needs for its transition to a low-carbon intensity economy. This control has become a critical vulnerability in the Western world’s emerging Industry 4.0 supply chains.

The mechanics of the emerging green economy rely on carbon friendly modes of transport such as electric vehicles, as well as mobile technology, energy storage, rapid adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies fueling increased computing power, and renewable power sources — all made from mined materials such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium.

China’s drive to become the dominant commodity superpower started in the 1990s when it started opening up its economy to the world. The central government mandated unprecedented infrastructure spending, prompting the start of the commodity supercycle that lasted until late in the 2000s. In turn, the enormous demand for raw materials sparked a mining investment boom. Continue Reading →

Trafigura Bets on Green-Nickel Squeeze in Defiance of China Cure – by Yvonne Yue Li and Andy Hoffman (Bloomberg News – April 20, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Just weeks after a novel production method upended the nickel market, two of the top names in the battery-supply chain made a play that suggests the world’s worries over sourcing cheap, clean supplies of the metal are far from over.

Commodity trader Trafigura Group and Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. signed a deal in late March to enter the Goro mine in New Caledonia, part of a group that will take the operation off the hands of Vale SA. The transaction wasn’t a surprise, with Vale in talks to offload the under-performing mine for months. But the deal’s timing was telling.

Earlier the same month, China’s Tsingshan Group triggered the biggest two-day nickel rout in a decade with its plans to make battery-grade metal from materials previously reserved only for stainless steel, potentially flooding the market. Wall Street banks lowered their nickel forecasts after futures plunged from about $19,000 a ton to $16,000. Continue Reading →

Trafigura, New Caledonia group complete takeover of Vale’s Goro nickel, cobalt unit – by Diana Kinch (S&P Global – March 31, 2021)

London — The Prony Resources New Caledonia consortium announced March 31 it has completed acquisition of Vale Canada’s Nouvelle-Calédonie S.A.S. (VNC) nickel and cobalt operation. Prony Resources is owned by New Caledonia entities together with international commodities trader Trafigura.

Operations at Prony Resources recommenced in the week of March 28 with the restart of nickel production expected mid-April, the company said in a statement.

The operation, designed to produce up to 57,000 mt/year of processed nickel, with cobalt as a byproduct, is believed to have been at a standstill since mid-December 2020, following protests by independence activists on the Southwest Pacific French island territory of New Caledonia. Prior to this it had been producing below capacity. Continue Reading →

Top Nickel Miner Vale Turns Page on 14-Year New Caledonia Foray – by James Attwood (Bloomberg News – March 31, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Vale SA, the biggest producer of mined nickel, closed a deal to divest its underperforming New Caledonian mine to a group that includes the operation’s managers and workers.

The divestment will allow operations to continue and gives Vale the right to a portion of output amid growing demand for the battery metal, Rio de Janeiro-based Vale said in a statement Wednesday.

Tesla Inc. will support the operation through a “technical and industrial partnership” with the consortium, called Prony Resources. Continue Reading →

Vale sells New Caledonia nickel assets to Trafigura – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – March 31, 2021)

Vale (NYSE: VALE) said on Wednesday it had concluded the sale of its nickel and cobalt operations in New Caledonia, a French territory in the Pacific, to a consortium called Prony, which includes commodity trader Trafigura.

While the Brazilian miner did not disclose the exact terms of the deal, it said that $1.1 billion will be invested in the New Caledonia assets, with $555 million coming from its subsidiary Vale Canada Ltd.

“Vale’s intent from the beginning of the divestment process was to withdraw from New Caledonia in an orderly and responsible manner. This deal accomplishes that,” chief executive Eduardo Bartolomeo said in the statement. Continue Reading →

Indonesia plays hardball with its nickel – by James Guild (East Asia Forum – March 30, 2021)

Nickel has become increasingly important beyond its traditional use in stainless steel manufacturing as the base metal is a key component in lithium-ion batteries, including the kind used in electric vehicles (EVs).

As the world’s big automakers begin scaling up the production of EVs, nickel and the batteries it goes into are expected to be in high demand. With the largest reserves of nickel deposits in the world, Indonesia is no longer content to simply export its raw ore.

Indonesia wants to take a central position in the value-added links in the EV supply chain — from mining the ore, to refining it, to manufacturing the batteries and eventually to building the cars. And because Indonesia controls the raw input, it turns out it has a lot of leverage. Continue Reading →