Miners race for nickel as electric car revolution looms – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – September 12, 2021)


Western groups compete for assets to secure supplies of key battery metal

In remote northern Ontario, hundreds of kilometres from the nearest railway or paved road, the world’s largest mining group and an Australian metals tycoon are in a bidding war for a deposit containing millions of tonnes of nickel.

The battle between BHP and Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo Metals for the asset’s owner Noront Resources comes as miners race to meet surging demand for battery metals as electric vehicles go mainstream.

Read more

Column: Shanghai squeeze revitalises flagging nickel market – by Andy Home (Reuters – September 9, 2021)


LONDON (Reuters) – Nickel is making a comeback. London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month nickel hit a seven-year high of $20,225 per tonne on Thursday morning and has a new-found spring in its step after collapsing in February.

That is when Chinese steel group Tsingshan announced its Indonesian nickel operations would supply matte – a form of the metal used only for stainless steel production – to battery makers. That undercut a collective bet that only refined nickel would be sufficiently high grade for the electric vehicle sector.

Read more

Hyundai, LG To Build $1.1 Billion Electric Vehicle Battery Plant In Indonesia To Tap Nickel Supply – by Ralph Jennings (Forbes Magazine – August 2, 2021)


South Korean conglomerates Hyundai and LG will jointly build a $1.1 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Indonesia to take advantage of the Southeast Asian country’s potentially vast consumer market and rich natural supply of nickel.

The 50-50 joint venture, slated to operate in the Karawang regency, Indonesia’s West Java province, will break ground this year and start production in 2024 with annual capacity for 10 gigawatt hours of battery cells, Hyundai said in a statement on Thursday.

Hyundai and LG can churn out 150,000 battery-run electric vehicles at that capacity, the statement says. The factory built on 330,000 square meters of land will help Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia “secure a stable supply of EV batteries at a competitive price” for future electric vehicles, it adds.

Read more

Nickel Deposits in Canada: A Quick Overview (Investing News Network – July 20, 2021)


Commodity prices have seen drastic increases over the past several months as demand for materials increases in a post-lockdown world. Nickel is amongst many other metals that have seen increases in demand and prices as manufacturing scales up across the globe.

Nickel has traditionally been highly sought after for its use in the production of stainless steel. More recently, nickel has also become an increasingly important element in electric vehicle (EV) production, as the material allows for producers to create lighter, smaller and higher density batteries.

And as more and more countries around the world continue to push towards the adoption of EVs, demand for nickel has continued to increase. Analysts expect this rapidly expanding market to continue growing, with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 26.8 percent by 2031.

Read more

Stainless steel strength and supply hits reinforce nickel – by Andy Home (Mining.com/Reuters – July 21, 2021)


Nickel is making a comeback. A strong pandemic recovery rally was rudely interrupted in March, when China’s Tsingshan Group said it intended to produce battery-grade nickel at its Indonesian operations.

Converting what is currently a process stream for Tsingshan’s stainless steel production to an input for electric vehicle cathode chemistry would undermine nickel’s bull narrative of a looming shortfall of battery-quality metal.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month nickel price slumped from a seven-year high of $20,110 per tonne to $15,665 over the first half of March. It has since clawed its way back to a current $18,400 with ripples of tightness appearing across nearby time-spreads against a backdrop of falling LME inventory.

Read more

Indonesia drawing plans to restrict nickel pig iron, ferronickel smelters – by Bernadette Christina (Reuters – June 24, 2021)


JAKARTA (Reuters) -Indonesia is considering a plan to restrict construction of smelters producing nickel pig iron or ferronickel in order to optimise use of its limited nickel ore reserves for higher-value products, a senior mining ministry official said on Thursday.

Indonesia is currently the biggest producer of the two crude metals, and a restriction on more smelters coming online could hit Chinese stainless steel producers who are among biggest customers for Indonesia’s relatively cheaper materials.

Restricting construction of new smelters is deemed necessary because of limited reserves of saprolite nickel ore, Ridwan Djamaluddin, a senior official at Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, told Reuters as the government discussed the plan with a parliamentary committee.

Read more

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.

Read more

Indonesians Demand Government Match Words with Action and Ditch Ocean Dumping – by Ellen Moore (Earthworks.org – 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.

Read more

The future of Canada’s nickel supply is NOT Indonesia – by Richard (Rick) Mills (A Head Of The Herd.com – 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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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 MINING.com, 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.

Read more

Vale mulls base metals spinoff to tap EV market – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – 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.

Read more