Archive | Nickel

Boom possible: Demand for electric vehicles bodes well for nickel … and for Greater Sudbury – by Darren MacDonald (Sudbury Northern Life – July 23, 2019)

https://www.sudbury.com/

Car companies ramping up EV battery production across the globe

While nickel analysts expect the price of nickel to dip again despite the impressive gains it has made in recent weeks, demand for the metal is bright thanks to the increasing demand for electric vehicles.

Nickel was trading at US $6.40 on Monday afternoon on the London Metals Exchange (LME), down from last week’s high of US $6.85, but still up more than 20 per cent in the last two weeks.

Commonwealth Bank commodities analyst Vivek Dhar told the Financial Review that the reasons some have given for the recent surge – falling LME stockpiles and an impending export ban in Indonesia – are not new revelations, and are factors traders have known for a long time. Continue Reading →

One day longer 10 years later – by Darren MacDonald (Sudbury Northern Life – July 22, 2019)

https://www.sudbury.com/

In July, 2009, more than 3,000 Steelworkers walked off the job in Sudbury after failing to strike a deal with Inco’s new owner, the Brazilian mining giant Vale. A decade later, we look back at how it all started and what it all meant

In the months leading to the strike at Vale in 2009, a major confrontation seemed both impossible and inevitable. There was talk almost immediately in the mining industry that, having purchased Inco in 2006, the only way the deal made sense for the Brazilian multinational was to undo the benefits package the Steelworkers had fought for in collective bargaining that ensured retirees a guaranteed income.

Defined benefits, as it was known, protected workers from inflation, from the ups and downs of markets. The nickel bonus, too, which saw workers paid more when nickel prices were high, was also a major obstacle in Vale’s view of things, as were restrictions on using contractors. For the company, these sorts of benefits represented unacceptable long-term costs and risks that threatened the viability of their Canadian purchase.

Anyone who has ever been in a union can tell you that heading into negotiations for a new contract, improvements are the goal, and concessions are the red line that can’t be crossed. For a union such as the United Steelworkers of America, headed by Sudbury’s own Leo Gerard, such concessions were unthinkable. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: China’s Tsingshan roils nickel market with buying spree – by Pratima Desai and Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – July 19, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese firm Tsingshan Holding Group has been buying large quantities of stainless steel ingredient nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) to supplement its own output, two sources familiar with the matter said. They could not specify the amounts Tsingshan has bought.

Nickel prices slid to their lowest for the year in the second quarter as investment funds sold on the expectation of slowing demand from Chinese stainless steel mills as economic activity came under pressure from the U.S.-China trade war.

But as unexpectedly higher demand numbers started to trickle out, the same funds rushed to cut their bets on lower prices. Continue Reading →

Elon Musk: Revolutionising Space Transportation with Stainless Steel – by Benjamin Spilker (Matmatch.com – July 12, 2019)

https://matmatch.com

SpaceX has come a long way. After being shocked by the absence of NASA’s concrete plans for a manned mission to Mars in the early 2000s, Elon Musk, the well-known entrepreneur and engineer, founded SpaceX in order to establish affordable access to space.

After spending a couple of years on designing, building and testing the first privately developed orbital rockets, the fourth launch of the Falcon 1 rocket into orbit was successful, marking the dawn of private space transportation.

With its proven capabilities, SpaceX was awarded a substantial contract from NASA for supply missions to the International Space Station, providing the funding for a rapid development of new launch vehicles. Continue Reading →

Metals in Space: How Superalloys Changed the Rocket Landscape – by Benjamin Spilker (Matmatch.com – March 26, 2019)

https://matmatch.com/

There is a high chance that a large variety of metals is in your proximity at this very moment. Metals are found and used virtually everywhere, from the iron in your red blood cells to the rare earth metals in the screen you are reading these lines from.

Many of the greatest advances in technology can be traced back to the exceptional characteristics that can be achieved by manufacturing parts from metal or alloying different metals to obtain even more superior materials.

Apart from the materials themselves, the manufacturing techniques evolved from hammering copper in approximately the 6th millennium BC [1] to, more recently, 3D printing of titanium. Continue Reading →

Twin Metals changes its plan to deal with mine waste — to a strategy lauded by some environmentalists – by Walker Orenstein (Minn Post – July 18, 2019)

https://www.minnpost.com/

The safety of storing mining waste in a tailings basin has been a critical part of the debate over copper-nickel mining in northern Minnesota, with some environmental advocates warning that failures and spills could unleash toxic slurry into nearby waters.

Now, in a major shift, one of two companies hoping to build a copper-nickel mine says it plans to store much of its waste using a “dry stack” method, an emerging technology that many of the same environmental nonprofits — and some mining experts — argue will better prevent water pollution.

Twin Metals Minnesota, which plans to mine just outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, said Thursday it would abandon its plan to use a tailings basin, which entails waste rock being covered in a pond held back by a dam. Continue Reading →

Clean water or mining pollution for the nation’s favorite wilderness? – by Mike Dombeck (The Hill – July 8, 2019)

https://thehill.com/

When you picture wilderness, the first thing that comes to mind may be the shoreline of a clean, unpolluted lake. Which is reasonable given the protections we provide to national wilderness areas.

But that is likely to change if the Trump administration and Twin Metals Minnesota have their way. Twin Metals is a mining firm owned by Chilean conglomerate Antofagasta.

The aggressive push by the Trump administration to force approval of a sulfide-ore copper and nickel mine in northern Minnesota’s Superior National Forest will almost certainly pollute the waters of the nation’s third largest National Forest and vast Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The administration recently announced renewal of two mining leases for Twin Metals. Continue Reading →

Editorial: A year after smelter/refinery closure, Thompson worse for wear but not down for the count (Thompson Citizen – July 3, 2019)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

About a year ago at this time, Thompson was awaiting the last round of layoffs from Vale’s Manitoba Operations and approaching the end of an era as nickel mining operations in Thompson, for the first time in their history, prepared to move from a fully integrated model that took nickel from the ground and refined it into its final product, to a mining-and-milling model, in which ore would be extracted and milled and then shipped off to Sudbury, Ont. for smelting and refining.

At the time, many people were – justifiably – concerned about what this change might mean for Thompson.

Looking back, the transition has been hard, especially for those who lost their jobs, but Thompson is not on the ropes economically, at least not yet, though the local economy has absorbed some pretty heavy body blows as a result of Vale shrinking its Thompson operations. Continue Reading →

OUR VIEWS: GLENCORE TRAGEDY SHOWS WHY MINING SHOULD BE DONE HERE (Mesabi Daily News – June 29, 2019)

https://www.virginiamn.com/

As news filtered out Thursday that Glencore had established itself as the majority shareholder of PolyMet, which is looking to build Minnesota’s first-ever copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes, devastating headlines about the Swiss-based company were also breaking.

At least 43 “illegal miners” died at a Kamoto Copper Company mine, operated by Glencore’s subsidiary Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Glencore later said the incidents were not linked to the official “operations and activities” of the mine.

While clandestine miners, who access sites without approval or permits, are a common occurrence in Congo and across Africa according to Reuters, the incident raises several questions in light of Glencore’s new role on the Iron Range. Continue Reading →

Protesters oppose Minnesota mine at PolyMet AGM in Toronto (CBC News – June 26, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/

Groups say Canadian-owned copper-nickel mine is threat to water flowing into Lake Superior watershed

Human rights and environmental groups protested at the PolyMet annual general meeting Wednesday over a proposed copper-nickel mine recently approved in Minnesota, about 50 kilometres from the Canadian border.

Ottawa-based PolyMet has recently obtained final state permits to move ahead with construction of the NorthMet mining complex, which would have three new open pits, waste rock heaps, and a permanent tailings waste dump on a site in the St. Louis River watershed which drains into Lake Superior.

The activists are concerned over the risk of tailings spills which could harm a sensitive watershed, kill fish and affect Indigenous wild rice beds. Representatives from Amnesty International Canada are framing it as a rights issue, pointing to the Mount Polley mine disaster in B.C. when a dam failure sent toxic tailings into a watershed used by Indigenous people. Continue Reading →

About 7,000 families move out from Norilsk Industrial District since 2011 (Tass Russian News Agency – June 27, 2019)

https://tass.com/

KRASNOYARSK, June 27. /TASS/. About 7,000 families have been moved since 2011 from the Norilsk Industrial District (the Krasnoyarsk Region’s north) to regions with better climate conditions, Nornickel’s Vice President Dmitry Pristanskov said on Wednesday at presentation of the company’s report on sustainable development.

In 2011, Russia’s Ministry of Regional Development, the Krasnoyarsk Region, the city of Norilsk and the Norilsk Nickel Company (Nornickel) signed an agreement to support families, who wanted to move out from Norilsk and Dudinka (the Taimyr Municipal District’s center).

People, who have worked in the Extreme North for more than 15 years could participate in the program. The most preferred destinations have been the Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Leningrad and Krasnodar Regions. Continue Reading →

PolyMet Mining closer than ever to getting Iron Range mine operational – by Mike Hughlett (Minneapolis Star Tribune – June 25, 2019)

http://www.startribune.com/

Despite fears over mine’s environmental effect, company is confident

HOYT LAKES, Minn. – After years of planning and contention, the derelict taconite complex in Hoyt Lakes is closer than ever to hosting Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mining operation.

Backed by global-mining giant Glencore, PolyMet Mining Corp.’s executives are courting bankers for nearly $1 billion to finance the project, hoping to start construction next year. New concerns have blown up recently over one of PolyMet’s environmental permits, though the company said it doesn’t expect the mine’s progress to be impeded.

“It’s going to happen,” said Jon Cherry, PolyMet’s CEO. “It is so rare to get a fully permitted mine at this time in the United States.” Continue Reading →

[Falconbridge] ‘I thought the smelter had blown up’ – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – June 21, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Electrician Gary Hrytsak was taking a brief nap during a coffee break at the Falconbridge smelter complex about 10:05 a.m. June 20, 1984, when he got thrown off the bench he was on.

“It was an eerie feeling,” recalled the now-retired Hrytsak during his speech at the 35th Workers’ Memorial Day ceremonies at the Caruso Club on Thursday. “You could feel things shaking under your feet … I thought the smelter had blown up.”

Hrytsak, who went on to do compensation, health and welfare work for his union (Mine Mill and Smelter Workers Local 598), said he put on his respirator, went to the electrical shop and telephoned his foreman, only to be told to stay where he was. Continue Reading →

Sudbury: Vale opens the books on Sudbury tailings dams following collapse in Brazil (CBC News Sudbury – June 19, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Mining giant releases report detailing its dozens of tailings dams in the Sudbury basin

Vale says it is currently doing work to stabilize some of its tailings dams in Sudbury, but stresses that there is no risk to the public.

The company this month released a report on the state of its dams around the world that it says was asked for by a large group of investors represented by the Church of England, following the collapse of a Vale dam in Brazil in January that killed 270 people.

The report includes dozens of dams that Vale manages in the Sudbury basin to hold mining waste, some dating back to 1929. Continue Reading →

‘The future is nickel’: Cobalt 27 sells off its namesake metal after tough year – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – June 18, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Toronto-based Cobalt 27 Capital Corp. is selling out at a low point for its namesake metal, a crucial component in the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and other devices.

The company, which stockpiles and streams cobalt, on Tuesday announced a $510-million deal that splits the company along cobalt and nickel asset lines.

Its largest shareholder, Swiss private-equity firm Pala Investment Ltd., which owns more than 19 per cent, will pay $3.57 cash per share for the company’s cobalt assets. The rest of the shareholders will also receive equity in a new company that retains the company’s nickel assets plus $5 million in cash. Continue Reading →