Archive | Nickel Laterites

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 →

Why geopolitics of this green battery metal should be on your radar – CRU – by Anna Golubova (Kitco News – March 17, 2021)

(Kitco News) The security of supply is becoming a key factor for manufacturers, especially when it comes to battery metal like nickel, according to CRU.

Nickel has been making headlines with its massive rally until very recently. Prices neared $20,000 a tonne at the end of February and then suddenly dropped to trade just over $16,000 in March. Just a couple of years ago, the nickel price was substantially lower, trading near the $12,000-13,000 range.

“Its price performed incredibly well through the second half of 2020 and into the start of 2021 until last week. That price strength was there despite relatively weak fundamentals for the market as a whole. Continue Reading →

Has China shattered battery nickel’s supply chain bottleneck? – by Anthony Milewski (Northern Miner – March 5, 2021)

Global mining news

China has turned the nickel market on its head after the world’s biggest stainless-steel producer, Tsingshan Holding Group, this week agreed to supply about 100,000 tonnes of matte (containing approximately 65-75% nickel) to Huayou Cobalt and battery materials maker CNGR Advanced Material.

The news signals that the mainly Chinese-funded nickel pig iron (NPI) producers in Indonesia are now looking at making nickel matte, essentially giving the battery-materials manufacturers a new product to plug into their processes.

The market response was not pretty. London’s nickel prices fell nearly 9% on March 4 and in Shanghai dropped the most in nine months. The three-month nickel contract on the London Metal Exchange dropped as much as 8.5% to US$15,945 per tonne, its most significant intraday loss since December 2016. Continue Reading →

Tesla partners with nickel mine amid shortage fears (BBC News – March 5, 2021)

Tesla has decided to become a technical partner in a nickel mine – which is needed for lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars.

Elon Musk’s car firm will also buy nickel from the Goro mine on the small Pacific island of New Caledonia to secure its long-term supply. The move comes amid growing concerns about future supplies of nickel.

New Caledonia is the world’s fourth largest nickel producer, which has seen a 26% rally in prices in the past year. Continue Reading →

Rising EV-grade nickel demand fuels interest in risky HPAL process – by Henrique Ribeiro, Jacqueline Holman and Lucy Tang (SP Global – March 3, 2021)

As analysts and industry participants warn of a looming shortage of battery-grade nickel, there is an ample pipeline of projects employing high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) technology to produce nickel chemicals. But scrutiny of the process is also growing, after some facilities ran into difficulties or produced less than expected.

HPAL has its advantages, particularly given a lack of options to convert low-grade nickel laterite ore—the form that represents the larger share of the world’s resources.

However, several challenges—including high capital expenditure (capex) and environmental impact—may not only slow down its adoption, but also lead some projects to failure, sources said. Continue Reading →

Vale returns to profit, eyes ‘dramatic opportunity’ for nickel – by Staff (Mining Journal – March 2, 2021)

Adjusted EDITDA rose 20% to $4.2 billion, after $4.8 billion in expenses of which $3.9 billion was related to the R37.7 billion (US$7 billion) Brumadinho settlement reached in January.

Vale’s ferrous minerals division achieved its second largest adjusted EBITDA of $8.8 billion, thanks to a 17% rise in realised prices and 26% higher sales volumes compared with the third quarter.

It put its iron ore fines and pellets C1 cash cost ex-third party purchases up slightly, quarter-on-quarter, at $12.70/t, while the cash cost (ex-ROM, ex-royalties) FOB was $15.30/t. Continue Reading →

Indonesia is poised for EV riches as Tesla circles, but a nickel rush could hurt the environment – by Jack Board (Channel News Asia – February 28, 2021)

BANGKOK: As American electric vehicle maker Tesla eyes up a hefty investment in Indonesia, concerns are growing over the potential environmental consequences of a nickel mining rush.

Tesla has reportedly tabled a proposal to establish a battery production facility in the country, though no official announcement has been made and government decision-makers remain tight-lipped about details.

Still, the prospects of Indonesia becoming a global hub for battery production in the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, and a key link in the global supply chain, has already seen mining and nickel processing ramp up across the country. Continue Reading →

These Metals Are Soaring on a Green Frenzy and Global Recovery (Bloomberg News – February 19, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Industrial metal prices are powering to the highest in years on bets an economic recovery from the pandemic and worldwide push for cleaner, greener energy will unleash vast amounts of pent-up demand.

From base-metal bellwethers to essential inputs for batteries and home electronics, post-crisis consumption threatens to outstrip near-term supply.

Governments and companies globally are announcing net-zero emissions goals, Europe is rolling out a package of environmental initiatives as part of its growth plan, and President Joe Biden has pledged $400 billion on clean energy research and development over 10 years. Continue Reading →

Battery metals are critical over the next decade, Roskill says – by Carl A. Williams (Northern Miner – February 18, 2021)

Global mining news

The growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is driving the increasing demand for lithium, nickel and cobalt – critical metals used as cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries in the automotive, energy and electronics industries.

According to Deloitte’s Electric Vehicle Trends, EV sales are forecast to grow from 2.5 million in 2020 to 11.2 million by 2025, and to 31.1 million by 2030. Analysts from Roskill, a commodity research firm and a leader in critical materials supply chains, provide an outlook on battery metals’ markets over the next decade.


Global demand for lithium carbonate — one of two primary forms of lithium used in EVs — is expected to exceed one million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) in 2026, according to David Merriman, an expert on EV and battery materials at Roskill. Continue Reading →

WORLD BANK NEWS RELEASE: Mineral Production to Soar as Demand for Clean Energy Increases (May 11, 2021)


For Report:

The more ambitious climate targets, the more minerals needed for a clean energy transition

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2020 — A new World Bank Group report finds that the production of minerals, such as graphite, lithium and cobalt, could increase by nearly 500% by 2050, to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies. It estimates that over 3 billion tons of minerals and metals will be needed to deploy wind, solar and geothermal power, as well as energy storage, required for achieving a below 2°C future.

The report “Minerals for Climate Action: The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition” also finds that even though clean energy technologies will require more minerals, the carbon footprint of their production—from extraction to end use—will account for only 6% of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by fossil fuel technologies.

The report underscores the important role that recycling and reuse of minerals will play in meeting increasing mineral demand. It also notes that even if we scale up recycling rates for minerals like copper and aluminum by 100%, recycling and reuse would still not be enough to meet the demand for renewable energy technologies and energy storage. Continue Reading →

Les Kanaks en marche: A French Pacific territory gets a pro-independence government (The Economist – February 18, 2021)

Governments come and go in New Caledonia, a French territory of 270,000 in the south Pacific. There have been 16 since 1998, when the French government and local politicians signed the Nouméa Accord, a power-sharing deal that aimed to end violent agitation for independence.

The new government named this week, however, stands out. It is the first dominated by pro-independence parties, with six of 11 ministers. That, in turn, means New Caledonia should soon have its first indigenous and first pro-independence president.

The indigenous Kanaks, although the largest ethnic group, are less than half the population. (Europeans and migrants from other parts of the Pacific are most of the rest.) Continue Reading →

Nickel, graphite to benefit from explosive growth in battery storage market – by Richard (Rick) Mills (Kitco News – February 17, 2021)

The challenges most countries are facing right now are daunting. Not only do they need to have a plan for recovering from covid-19, the supply chains that have been interrupted or broken by the virus have to be repaired.

On top of the covid crisis there is a climate crisis, and for lack of a better term, a “technology” crisis. Governments must make funding available for 5G networks so that businesses are not left behind as the world moves more into digitization and automation which require robust internet and cellular infrastructure.

The fossil-fueled based transportation system needs to be electrified, and the switch has to be made from oil, gas and coal-powered power plants to those which run on solar, wind and thorium-produced nuclear energy. If we have any hope of cleaning up the planet, before the point of no return, a massive decarbonization needs to take place. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicles can drive more responsible mining – by Pius Ginting and Payal Sampat (China Dialogue Ocean – February 12, 2021)


Pius Ginting is the coordinator of Aksi Ekologi dan Emansipasi Rakyat in Indonesia. Payal Sampat is the mining program director at Earthworks in the United States.

The ocean waters surrounding eastern Indonesia and Papua New Guinea lie within the biodiverse Coral Triangle, home to some of the world’s most highly concentrated – and endangered – coral reefs.

In addition to being globally significant ecological sites, the reefs supply habitat for several important commercial and subsistence fisheries central to local communities’ lives.

Meanwhile, the area’s nickel deposits are attracting the attention of electric vehicle manufacturers, which rely on batteries containing nickel and other minerals like lithium and cobalt. Nickel demand is expected to increase six-fold by 2030 and Indonesia, which is already the world’s largest nickel producer, is dramatically scaling up production to meet it. Continue Reading →