Archive | Nickel Laterites

UPDATE 1-Philippines nickel ore exports seen dropping up to 17 pct on low prices – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – July 10, 2018)

MANILA, July 10 (Reuters) – The Philippines’ nickel ore exports could drop by up to 17 percent this year as weaker prices curb output in the world’s second-biggest supplier, the head of a nickel mining industry group said on Tuesday.

Shipments of nickel ore, used to make stainless steel, could fall to 30-35 million tonnes from 36 million tonnes in 2017, Dante Bravo, president of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association, told a media forum.

“As a whole, we expect exports this year to be less than what we saw last year because the price of low-grade nickel now is weak,” he said. The Philippines is the world’s No.2 nickel ore supplier after Indonesia, shipping the bulk of its output to top buyer China. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicle demand will double nickel price – as soon as 2022 – by Frik Els ( – July 9, 2018)

After a gravity-defying run, nickel has now also succumbed to weakness in the industrial metals complex as global trade fears mount, declining to $14,125 per tonne on Monday.

The metal, mainly used in stainless steel manufacture, is down 10% or more than $1,600 a tonne from more than three-year highs hit on the LME a month ago.

Nickel is still up by 62% compared to its June 2017 lows, mostly on the back of falling inventories in top consumer China. On the Shanghai Futures Exchange nickel stocks have dropped for 24 straight weeks while LME warehouses are the emptiest since mid-2014. Continue Reading →

GRAPHIC-Inventory draws highlight nickel shortages, buttress prices – by Pratima Desai (Reuters U.K. – June 28, 2018)

LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) – Two years ago the chances of a nickel price recovery seemed remote, but that mindset has changed as shrinking stocks and falling supplies have created a bullish backdrop for the stainless steel ingredient.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange recently hit $16,690 a tonne, the highest since December 2014, after falling to 13-year lows below $8,000 a tonne in February 2016.

A retreat to around $15,000 a tonne was triggered by fears of a trade war between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies. However, prices are still up about 70 percent since June 2017 when expectations of deficits began. Continue Reading →

Philippines’ Duterte says to end mining ‘one of these days’ Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – July 2, 2018)

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he would soon halt mining in the Southeast Asian nation because of the environmental damage it has caused, renewing his threat made nearly two years ago to shut down the industry completely.

Mining has been a contentious issue in the Philippines, the world’s No. 2 nickel ore supplier after Indonesia, due to cases of environmental mismanagement.

“I will decide one of these days, I will end mining,” Duterte told a public event in central Philippines, after citing destruction caused by mineral extraction. “It is a very destructive activity though you would call it economic activity.” Continue Reading →

The difficulties of enforcing regulations on the dangerous nickel ore trade – by Marcus Hand (Seatrade Maritime News – July 3, 2018)

The extreme danagers of the nickel ore trade, where liquefaction of the cargo can cause a vessel to sink in a matter of minutes are well known, but enforcing regulations on this valuable business has proved difficult in remote mining and loading locations.

One is reminded that the DHL advert where goat farmers in a remote mountainsare shown as the start of a global supply chain for cashmere sweaters, but the reality of the nickel ore trade from the southern Philippines, mainly for export to China, is a far grittier one that would challenge even the most creative advertising agency.

This is despite nickel ore being a key compoment in one of the key green technologies – rechargable batteries. Although its largest use is in stainless steel. Continue Reading →

Cleantech’s next heat wave could come from Smarter Alloys – by Tyler Hamilton (Globe and Mail – April 18, 2018)

Tyler Hamilton works with cleantech companies from across Canada as an adviser with the non-profit MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

When we burn fuel to power vehicles and machinery, drive industrial processes or generate electricity, most of the energy in this fuel is dumped into the atmosphere as heat.

In one 2016 study, German researchers estimated that 72 per cent of global primary energy consumption – that is, using coal, oil, natural gas and uranium as fuel – is lost as waste heat. Most of this heat is rated “low grade,” meaning it’s less than 100 C.

It includes the heat emitted from data centre server farms and the warm air that flows out the back of your kitchen refrigerator or air conditioner. Continue Reading →

FORECAST: EV nickel demand to surge tenfold by 2025, Vale says – by Millicent Dent (Metal – May 15, 2018)

Mass production of electric vehicles (EVs) will transform the nickel market, which must evolve from pricing and supply perspectives in order to meet the anticipated surge in demand.

“We’re already preparing [to enter the EV space] but we’re going to preserve optionality until it’s time and we can extract value,” Robert Morris, Vale’s executive vice president of sales and marketing for base metals, told Metal Bulletin.

Nickel prices are not nearly high enough to incentivize more production to come online. “If we want to supply this battery revolution with the appropriate nickel units, prices will have to be substantially higher,” he said, adding that it would likely take a couple of years for that to occur. Continue Reading →

Gov’t won’t lift ban on open-pit mining – by Madelaine B. Miraflor (Manila Bulletin – June 8, 2018)

t is now the job of mining companies to look for an alternative to open-pit mining method as ordered by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu — who, for the nth time, said the government is not keen to lift the ban on the destructive method.

“We have to reinvent mining in the Philippines or we will shut you down by the end of the year,” Cimatu told mining companies during the Philippine Mining Club Luncheon in Makati yesterday.

During the meeting, Cimatu said miners should prepare for a scenario where there is no longer open-pit mining in the country. “We will discuss what will be the alternative to this mining method,” Cimatu said. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Accent: Sudbury as the ‘Harvard’ of hardrock mining [Part 4 of 5] – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – June 6, 2018)

The Sudbury Basin is Ontario’s metallic equivalent to the Alberta oils sands without the massive open pits as most of the mines historically have been underground. For 135 years, the region’s unique polymetallic ore-bodies have produced nickel, copper and significant quantities of cobalt, gold, silver and platinum group metals (PGMs).

It is the third largest source of PGMs after South Africa and Russia. Many multi-generational families earn good middle-class salaries in the many mines, two mills, two smelters and one refinery. Roughly 30 per cent of provincial mining activity takes place in Sudbury, according to the Ontario Mining Association.

Glencore’s recent C$900 million investment in the development of its Onaping Depth project and Vale’s C$760 million phase one development of its Copper Cliff Deep mine are indications of growing confidence in the future of the region. Continue Reading →

What Does Northern Ontario Want From Queen’s Park? – by Stan Sudol ( – May 31, 2018)

Northern Ontario Being Strangled

On June 7th, the people of Ontario will be going to the polls in one of the most pivotal elections in the province’s history. While Northern Ontario – north of the French and Mattawa Rivers, as I have never recognized the Parry Sound and Muskoka ridings as being part of the North – encompasses roughly 90 per cent of the province’s land mass, its population has been steadily declining to slightly over five per cent of Ontario’s total.

Unfortunately, our impact on provincial policies is almost negligible.

A buck a beer, cheaper gas, tax breaks combined with unaffordable infrastructure and social commitments, twinning the trans-Canada in Northern Ontario, buying back Hydro One, and jumping on a bulldozer to start building the road into the Ring of Fire are part of a bevy of mostly worthy but unsustainable promises Conservative Doug Ford, Liberal Kathleen Wynne and NDP Andrea Horwath have made.

However, I seldom hear any actual policy initiatives to grow the economy and create wealth so we can afford all these election initiatives and perhaps, just perhaps put a little money on our provincial debt which has more than doubled during the past 15 years under the McGuinty/Wynne Liberal era from about $138 billion in 2003/04 to $325 billion currently and growing. By the way, this is the largest sub-national debt in the world and twice as large as California which has a population of almost 40 million. We are paying roughly $1 billion a month to service that debt. That will surely rise when interest rates, which are at historic lows, eventually start going up! Continue Reading →

Commentary: Nickel’s star performance underpinned by old and new drivers – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – May 21, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – Nickel is turning out to be the star performer of the major industrial metals so far this year. True, the London Metal Exchange (LME) price has retreated from April’s three-year high of $16,690 as panic that U.S. sanctions on Russia might be extended to Norilsk Nickel has dissipated.

But at a current $14,650 per tonne, LME three-month nickel is still up 16 percent on the start of the year. Tin, the second strongest performer among the LME base metals pack, is up by just two percent.

In China the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) contract largely ignored London’s Russian jitters but has also just notched up its highest trading level in three years. Both London and Shanghai markets are being buoyed by falling visible inventory, which is reinforcing a bullish narrative of supply shortfall. Continue Reading →

Vale Boss Prefers Giving Away Windfall to Avoid Sins of the Past – by R.T. Watson and Joseph Richter (Bloomberg News – May 18, 2018)

Vale SA, once the most generous dividend payer among major mining companies, may be poised to regain that status with its chief executive officer nearing debt targets and unwilling to hoard cash or rush into deals.

Like others in the industry, the biggest producer of iron ore and nickel cut dividends to defend against a commodity downturn that eroded profit and pushed up debt metrics.

With prices recovering as supply gluts ease, producers are once again rewarding shareholders. In March, Vale approved a plan to begin paying at least 30 percent of earnings before items minus sustaining investments. For the first quarter, that meant $1 billion. Continue Reading →

‘The river is dead’: is a mine polluting the water of Brazil’s Xikrin tribe? – by Naira Hofmeister and José Cícero da Silva (The Guardian – May 15, 2018)

Federal courts are battling to shut down a nickel mining plant said to be contaminating the Cateté river – a charge the company denies

The Xikrin, who have lived alongside the Cateté river in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil for centuries, have a mantra: “The river is our life.” Surrounded by an abundance of plant species, they swim and bathe here.

To fish, the tribe use timbó, a toxic vine that reduces the concentration of oxygen in the water, forcing the fish to come to the surface, where they are shot with arrows. “If we use hooks to fish, only one of our families will eat fish,” explains former tribal chief Onkray Xikrin. “But with timbó the whole village can eat.”

But the River Cateté is dying, and with it the way of life of the Xikrin. In 2010 Mineração Onça Puma, a company owned by the mining company Vale, began extracting nickel in the nearby hills, which have tributaries flowing into the Cateté. Vale is one of the world’s largest producers of nickel. Continue Reading →

Scotiabank’s Metals Market Outlook Q2 update: NICKEL: MUCH NEEDED SUPPLY DEFICITS REDUCING EXCESS STOCKS (May 10, 2018)

The nickel market is still trying to find its way after a decade of surplus (chart 7) pushed prices down from a peak of $25/lb in 2007 to $3.50/lb in early 2016, with prices currently trading around $6.25/lb. Nickel demand has outpaced supply since last year, but the market will require multi-year deficits to draw down the significant glut of excess metal that has been built up in the storage sheds of global exchanges.

While supply shortages have reduced exchange-listed inventory levels by more than 30% since early 2016, stocks still represent more than 70 days of global nickel demand compared to sister base metals: aluminium at 13 days, copper at 11 days, and zinc at 7 days (chart 8).

Nickel prices are expected to gradually move higher over the next half decade as inventories normalize, averaging $6.00/lb in 2018 and $6.50/lb in 2019. Nickel prices are undeniably benefitting from a recent sentiment boost related to feverish EV forecasts, with many viewing nickel as one of the primary beneficiaries of the battery industry build out alongside other metals more commonly associated with the electric revolution like copper, cobalt, and lithium. Continue Reading →

Stainless steel glut builds in China as Indonesia ups output – by Maytaal Angel (Reuters U.S. – May 3, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – An abundance of stainless steel in China following the ramp up of new production in Indonesia is threatening stainless mills globally and the nickel producers that supply them.

Marking a major structural shift, China, which makes and consumes around half of the world’s stainless, became a marginal net importer of hot-rolled stainless coil in December for the first time in more than seven years, data from the International Steel Statistics Bureau and from consultants CRU showed.

This is after Chinese-owned stainless giant Tsingshan started production last August at a giant plant in Indonesia that should, by the end of 2018, have an annual capacity of 3 million tonnes.This is equivalent to 6 percent of last year’s global flat stainless capacity, CRU says, and there is more to come, with China’s Delong Holdings set to start production at its Indonesian stainless plant in 2019. Continue Reading →