Archive | Nickel Laterites

A photo of a dead fisherman left many questions for a Swiss-Russian mine in Guatemala – by Marion Guégan and Cécile Schilis-Gallego (Toronto Star – June 22, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

A group of fishermen from an Indigenous community in Guatemala demanded to know more about the environmental impact of a ferronickel mine established on their ancestral land. One of them was killed, and a local reporter was criminalized for covering the story.

Forbidden Stories, an international consortium of 40 journalists publishing in 30 media organizations around the world, joined forces to continue the reporter’s work. This is part of the “Green Blood” series, a project pursuing stories of journalists who have been threatened, jailed or killed while investigating environmental issues.

If it were not for a journalist taking pictures that day, some might claim that it is unclear how Carlos Maaz’s last moments unfolded. There was a cloud of tear gas, the chaos of an improvised protest, the echo of bullets and rocks flying through the crowd. Continue Reading →

Green Blood: The Guatemalans who pay the price for the west’s need for nickel – by Juliette Garside (The Guardian – June 19, 2019)

https://www.theguardian.com/

The road to Guatemala’s biggest nickel mine is barely visible through a cloud of red dust, churned up by the 25-tonne trucks that thunder past loaded with ore.

From the choking haze a cyclist emerges, weaving between the lorries. On his back he carries a bundle of firewood. Goggles protect his eyes, a bandana covers his nose and mouth.

Manuel Choc, a grandfather with greying hair, lives in the settlement of El Paraíso, almost opposite the gates of the Fenix mine. Each bundle sells for 10 quetzals (£1). It is a precarious living. Continue Reading →

LITHIUM CONF: High-content nickel batteries to remain predominant – by Renato Rostás (Metal Bulletin – June 11, 2019)

https://www.metalbulletin.com/

The growing need for class 1 nickel, which is suited for batteries,
is becoming an issue to the industry, McKinsey’s co-head of EV
battery materials research group, Ken Hoffman, commented.

Santiago: Lithium-ion batteries with higher nickel content will be predominant in the coming years as the industry searches for improved electric capacity, market participants said during Fastmarkets’ 11th Lithium Supply and Markets Conference on Monday June 10.

However, NCM811 batteries – which have 80% nickel, 10% cobalt and 10% manganese – have a long way to go to become more cost efficient as its use demands lengthier treatment to ensure safety and durability, they added.

The NCM622 – 60% Ni, 20% Co, 20% Mn battery – category will lead market share at least until 2025, Chinese electrochemical cathode materials producer Pulead Technology Industry forecast. Continue Reading →

Trump’s Cuba gambit pushes Canadian miner Sherritt to the brink – by Paula Sambo and Danielle Bochove (BNNBloomberg News – June 5, 2019)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

Sherritt International Corp. (S.TO), whose executives were once known as Fidel Castro’s favorite capitalists, is paying the price for its close ties to the struggling Caribbean nation.

The Canadian miner, which gets all its revenue from assets in Cuba, is being hit on multiple fronts by Donald Trump’s isolationism, plunging nickel prices and cost overruns. With the stock at 21 cents and its bonds trading at distressed levels, investors are starting to question the company’s viability.

“It all depends how the world unfolds in terms of commodity prices and the U.S.-Cuban relationship,” Chief Executive Officer David Pathe said in an interview this week. “There’s only so much that we can do right now and that’s focusing on the things that we can control.” Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Confusing signals cloud London nickel market – by Andy Home (Reuters Africa – May 20, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) – The London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel market was last week gripped by the most acute tightness in a decade. Time-spreads flexed into backwardation as a long-running downtrend in exchange stocks squeezed short position holders.

Falling inventory and tighter spreads are normally strong bull signals in a commodity market. And in nickel’s case they seem to tally nicely with the International Nickel Study Group’s (INSG) forecast that supply will fall short of usage for the fourth successive year in 2019.

However, conspicuous by its absence is any strength in the outright nickel price, which has fallen from a March high of $13,765 per tonne to a current $11,910. Continue Reading →

Japan’s SMM aims to double battery material capacity in nine years – by Yuka Obayashi (Reuters U.S. – May 17, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese miner and smelter Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd (SMM) aims to more than double its production capacity of cathode materials used in batteries for automobiles by March 2028, its president Akira Nozaki said on Friday.

SMM, which also makes electrical materials, supplies the nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) cathode materials used in Panasonic Corp’s lithium-ion battery that powers Tesla Inc’s Model 3 and Model X cars.

The Japanese company plans to boost its output capacity of cathode materials to 10,000 tonnes a month by end-March 2028, from 4,550 tonnes a month now, Nozaki told an analyst meeting. Continue Reading →

[Philippines Mining] Gov’t to go after big mining firms anew – by Madelaine B.Miraflor Manila Bulletin – May 2, 2019)

https://business.mb.com.ph/

Some of the big mining companies who already passed the first round of government-led mining audit will not be off the hook in the second round of mining audit happening this year. In fact, the forthcoming audit, which is expected to start in a few weeks, is mostly going to be about them.

Environment Undersecretary for Mining Concerns Analiza Rebuelta-Teh said that as much as 17 mining companies will be reviewed in the second batch of Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) audit. Of this, 12 mining companies already passed the audit carried by former Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez in 2016.

Based on the list obtained by Business Bulletin, the mining companies to be reviewed in the second round of audit include Philex Mining Corporation, Agata Mining Ventures, Inc., Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation, SR Metals, Inc., Apex Mining Company, Cagdianao Mining Corporation, and Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Eramet gets go-ahead to boost New Caledonia nickel exports, shares rise (Reuters U.S. – April 16, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

PARIS, April 16 (Reuters) – French mining company Eramet said its loss-making SLN nickel division had received a boost from the New Caledonia government approving a sharp rise in SLN’s nickel ore exports. Eramet shares rose around 5 percent in early trading.

The company said the decision would allow SLN to export its lower-grade nickel ore, which in turn would allow SLN to cut its costs. It added the move would help it execute a broader strategy plan to reduce SLN’s cash cost by $1.30 per lb by 2021.

“I would like to thank the government of New Caledonia and all the stakeholders who contributed to this decision,” said Eramet Chairman and CEO Christel Bories. “This is a sign of confidence in the successful implementation of the SLN rescue plan.” Continue Reading →

Indonesia battery-grade nickel plant awaits environmental nod- developer – by Fransiska Nangoy and Wilda Asmarini (Reuters U.S. – April 5, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

JAKARTA, April 5 (Reuters) – Indonesia’s first plant to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals is on track to start operations by 2020, though the project still needs an environmental permit that could take up to eight months to be approved, the developer told Reuters.

China’s Tsingshan Group and partners including GEM Co Ltd are building a $700 million high pressure acid leaching (HPAL) plant at the PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP) on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, a nickel mining hub.

Ground breaking started in January on the plant, which is due to be completed within 16 to 18 months and will allow Indonesia to export nickel sulphate, a component for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs). Continue Reading →

Philippine nickel producer DMCI sees tough year with mine shut, inventory declining (Reuters U.K. – March 20, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

MANILA, March 21 (Reuters) – Philippine nickel producer DMCI Mining Corp, a unit of conglomerate DMCI Holdings Inc, on Thursday said it expected 2019 to be a tough year, with one of its two mines still suspended and its inventory almost depleted.

DMCI’s mines, operated by subsidiaries Berong Nickel Corp and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp, were among those ordered shut in 2016 when the government launched an industry-wide crackdown on miners as part of a push to ramp up environmental protection.

The closures and the threat of more mines being suspended in what, at the time, was the world’s top nickel ore supplier dramatically lifted prices for nickel. Continue Reading →

Column: Nickel rally fades, electric vehicle buzz doesn’t – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – February 12, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Was it another false dawn for the nickel market? Last week’s rally to a five-month high of $13,350 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange has gone into sharp reverse. Nickel was trading back at $12,385 on Tuesday.

The trigger for the price surge was concern that Brazilian producer Vale’s nickel operations would suffer some sort of knock-on effect from the devastating tailings collapse at the company’s Brumadinho iron ore mine.

Such fears have proved unfounded. So far. There may still be ramifications for Vale’s Onca Puma ferronickel operations in the state of Para. But nickel’s ability to rally at all in the current gloomy macroeconomic environment is testament to continued investor interest in the metal’s potential demand boost from the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. Continue Reading →

U.S. Loosing Global Battery Arms Race that is Critically Dependent on Nickel, Cobalt and Lithium – by Simon Moores (Benchmark Mineral Intelligence – February 5, 2019)

  • Written Testimony of Simon Moores, Managing Director, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
  • For: US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Committee
  • Hearing: Tuesday, February 5 2019, at 10:00a.m. Room 366, Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.
  • Subject: Outlook for energy and minerals markets in the 116th Congress.

We are in the midst of a global battery arms race in which the US is presently a bystander.

Since my last testimony only 14 months ago, we have reached a new gear in this energy storage revolution which is now having a profound impact on supply chains and the raw materials that fuel it.

The advent of electric vehicles (EVs) and the emergence of battery energy storage has sparked a wave of lithium ion battery megafactories being built. Continue Reading →

After Freeport, Indonesia eyes 20% of nickel [PT Vale Indonesia] firm’s shares (Jakarta Post – February 4, 2019)

https://www.thejakartapost.com/

After gaining control of 51.23 percent shares of gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia, the government is eyeing to gain a 20 percent stake in publicly listed nickel miner PT Vale Indonesia (INCO).

“We are certainly interested, but we have not assigned a company yet [to represent the government],” the SOEs Ministry’s undersecretary for mining, strategic industries and media affairs, Fajar Harry Sampurno, said in Jakarta on Friday as quoted by kontan.co.id.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s mineral director, Yunus Saefulhak, said the ministry had received INCO’s divestment proposal letter. He added that INCO had submitted its report to the Finance Ministry while sending its offer to the SOEs Ministry. Continue Reading →

Nickel prices must rise to meet battery demand: AABC (Argus Media.com – January 28, 2019)

https://www.argusmedia.com/en/

Higher nickel prices are required to incentivise supply of nickel sulphate for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, particularly given lower cobalt prices, delegates heard today at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) in Strasbourg, France.

Supply of nickel increased by 7pc last year to about 2.19mn t, but demand increased by 8pc to 2.33mn t, increasing the deficit to 147,000t, from 131,000t in 2017, said Denis Sharypin, head of market research at Russian producer Norilsk Nickel.

The battery sector accounted for 124,000t of consumption last year, and while overall nickel demand is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5pc to 2025, demand from the battery sector is estimated to climb at a CAGR of 18pc over the same period. Continue Reading →

Commentary: Flash LME nickel squeeze may be a taste of things to come – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – January 16, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Nickel bears have been sent running for cover by this week’s ferocious squeeze on the London Metal Exchange (LME). Short-dated time-spreads have flexed out to levels not seen in many years as a long-running decline in LME nickel stocks translates into cash-date tightness.

The resulting bear rout has halted a six-month downtrend in the outright nickel price. Bulls, however, should not get overly excited. There is as yet scant evidence this was anything other than a flash squeeze rather than a signal for higher prices.

But that is not to say there won’t be more such spread tension in the nickel market going forward. That nickel should be squeezed this week is no accident. Today is the LME’s “third-Wednesday” prime prompt date, the monthly clear-out of outstanding positions. Continue Reading →