Archive | Nickel

Ni & Co CONFERENCE: Nine key takeaways from Xiamen – by Charlotte Radford, Susan Zou and Violet Li (Metal Bulletin – November 12, 2018)

https://www.metalbulletin.com/

The spotlight was in Xiamen last week when market participants gathered to discuss hot topics in the cobalt and nickel markets, including higher cobalt prices and their impact on the market in addition to new trends for the cobalt industry.

High prices do not hurt the overall use of cobalt in consumer electronics

Cobalt prices hit a near 10-year high in April, but the blue metal’s high prices will not lead to many cobalt substitutions in consumer electronics, according to battery manufacturer ATL’s procurement director, Xu Shihui.

Cobalt demand from the consumer electronics industry will continue to grow due to new trends, including the intact adoption of lithium-cobalt-oxide (LCO) batteries in laptops and smart phones. Continue Reading →

Generations Of Miners Face The Future Of Automation Deep Underground – by Mary Katherine Keown (HuffPost Canada/Thet Canada.com – November 13, 2018)

https://www.thetcanada.com/

A proud third-generation miner, Mickey O’Brien enjoys the every day grind of taking that deep dive to the centre of the earth. A miner at Vale’s Copper Cliff Mine in Sudbury, Ontario, O’Brien works 10-hour shifts. After suiting up and assembling, he and his coworkers break into a number of crews to start the new and soiled process of gnawing away on the earth greater than 1.5 km underground.

“I am on haulage,” O’Brien says. “Proper now I am driving a grader, however I am being skilled on a picker, so if we’ve massive chunks after a blast, the news will put them apart and I drill holes in them and I blow them up, and the news will come and decide them up. Cool, eh?”

A proud labour rights activist, he considers a lot of his colleagues — most of whom are members of Steelworkers Native 6500 — to be brothers and sisters. “I have been engaged on Inco property since I used to be 18 and I am 38 now,” he says, referencing the title of his firm earlier than it was purchased out by Vale in 2006. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicles spur race to mine deep sea riches – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – November 13, 2018)

https://www.ft.com/

Miners want to tap subsea deposits of cobalt and other rare metals for green technologies, but environmental campaigners are worried

Gerard Barron brandishes a small black rock — the size of the palm of his hand — and heralds it as the future: “It’s all right here, all the metals we need.”

The Australian entrepreneur believes these rocks, formed over millions of years at the bottom of the ocean, can help satisfy the growing demand for the metals used in batteries and clean energy technologies, and are therefore critical to the transition away from fossil fuels. Less than 20cm wide, the so-called nodules can contain nickel, manganese, copper and cobalt— all set to see a surge in demand over the next decade.

Mr Barron’s start-up, DeepGreen, which is backed by shipping group Maersk and Switzerland-based miner Glencore, plans to suck up thousands of tonnes of the nodules from the sea floor using harvesting vehicles, and send them up a pipe to a ship to be sorted. Mining in the deep sea (defined as below 200m) can avoid the problems of land mining, he says, such as deforestation, pollution and child labour, although critics say it produces a whole new raft of problems. Continue Reading →

On the Iron Range, new hopes and new anxieties – by Matt McKinney and Josephine Marcotty (Minneapolis Star Tribune – November 11, 2018)

http://www.startribune.com/

Permit approvals for PolyMet open a new chapter in an old struggle.

HOYT LAKES, Minn. – For years, residents of this struggling mining town have clung to the hope that their old way of life would return. But even so, when state regulators finally approved permits late last month for Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine, the news hit like a thunderbolt.

“You could feel it,” said Toni Thuringer, co-owner of the Haven Bar and Grill, who described a buzz that ran through patrons dining in the restaurant and elbowing up to the bar. “It’s just so cool because it’s been so long since we’ve had that feeling around here.”

In Iron Range towns left for dead by the mining industry’s last bust in the 1980s, the sudden realization that, after years of contentious debate, PolyMet Mining Corp. might actually open its $1 billion mine has fueled rousing talk. Continue Reading →

[Glencore] Old mine set to become tech vanguard for Sudbury-based corporation – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – November 9, 2018)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Onaping Depth touted by Glencore as future of deep mining with all battery-electric operation

The Craig Mine-Onaping Depth Project is not only becoming a reality, but it will also have the distinction of being the first mine to be completely battery-electric, even if it means building equipment that doesn’t exist, yet.

It’s also a melding of old and new, with the previous mine’s infrastructure being used to transport equipment and personnel to the deposit.

Peter Xavier, vice-president of Glencore’s Sudbury Operations, gave an overview of the company, with a focus on the company’s mine project, at a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Nov. 6. Continue Reading →

Environmental groups ask for suspension of PolyMet permits – by Jimmy Lovrien (Duluth News Tribune – November 8, 2018)

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/

Several Minnesota environmental groups asked state agencies to suspend permits for the contentious PolyMet copper-nickel mine in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, WaterLegacy and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness submitted a request for stay, or suspension, of permits issued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources last week and pending permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency until the Minnesota Court of Appeals rules on whether an additional environment review of the project is needed.

Before the groups can ask the Court of Appeals for a stay on the permits, they’re required to first request a stay of permits from the agencies themselves, WaterLegacy counsel and advocacy director Paula Maccabee told the News Tribune on Thursday. “It’s not like this is the endgame, but it is a preliminary step,” Maccabee said. Continue Reading →

Glencore to go deeper at Sudbury operations – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – November 7, 2018)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

“We have still, I believe, a lot of untapped potential in the Sudbury
basin, especially at depth,” said Xavier. A series of deep copper
deposits dubbed Norman West is particularly intriguing to the company.

Xavier also highlighted the strides the company has taken to reduce its emissions,
which have dropped 90 per cent over the past 30 years, while production has climbed.
And he noted Glencore has spent $272 million on a Process Gas Project at its smelter,
which will further reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.

“We’re committed to a long, stable future in Sudbury,” he said.
(Peter Xavier, VP of Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations – Glencore)

Cleaner. And deeper. That’s the direction Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (Glencore) is heading with its existing properties, a new nickel mine in the Onaping area and copper deposits it hopes to develop north of Capreol.

“Deep mining is where the future lies for us,” said Glencore VP Peter Xavier during an address to a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce audience Tuesday. “After 100 years of mining in the Sudbury basin, you can imagine a lot of the close-to-the-surface operations are getting depleted, and we’re having to go deeper.” Continue Reading →

Brazilian Official: Mining Projects Are ‘National Priorities’ – by Neils Christensen (Kitco News – November 5, 2018)

https://www.kitco.com/

(Kitco News) – While the world continues to react to the election of Brazilian populist president Jair Bolsonaro, some government officials don’t expect this to have much impact on the nation’s plan to develop its national resource.

In an exclusive interview with Kitco News ahead of the October runoff election, Pedro Bruno Barros De Souza, secretary of public policy coordination, said that the government’s Investment Partnership Program (IPP) is bigger than any one political leader. He added that the government, no matter who is in charge, is committed to developing the nation’s natural resources responsibly.

“Brazil has a lot of mineral potential and there are many opportunities for investors and companies who want to work with the government to develop those resources,” he said. “The Brazilian government has been working diligently on its governance to create a stable legal, regulatory framework, so investors will find a positive business environment.” Continue Reading →

Mining Veteran Wants to Build a $1 Billion Battery Metals Giant – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – November 1, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

South African mining veteran Brian Menell wants to build a battery material giant to help challenge China’s domination of the nascent industry.

It’s still early days for his privately funded company, TechMet Ltd., which controls just a handful of assets from Canada to Rwanda. But he’s raising more money and sees countries such as the U.S. and Japan as potential partners to help catch China in the rapidly growing industry to provide battery grade supplies of everything from tin and tungsten to nickel and cobalt.

“There’s a degree of urgency now,” said Menell, who started his mining career with diamond giant De Beers in the 1980s and whose family built one of South Africa’s largest mining companies. “It’s a massive problem” that China has dominated supply of these materials for about 15 years, he said. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China’s Tsingshan rains on nickel bulls’ party – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – October 30, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Has nickel lost its electric buzz? Bull spirits had been galvanised by the potential boost to demand from the electric vehicle revolution. Nickel is expected to be one of the winners in the battle for more efficient batteries.

The price of nickel on the London Metal Exchange surged by 63 percent between October 2017 and April 2018, hitting a three-year high of $16,690 per tonne. It is now trading at $11,750.

Trade war anxiety has played its part in the price fall. But nickel has its own worries. Assumptions as to how both nickel’s price and supply chain would need to adapt to the new electric demand driver have just been upended. Continue Reading →

Battery Metal Bulls Fear China’s Big Disrupter to Hit Nickel – by Mark Burton and Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – October 28, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Commodity traders expect nickel, the silvery-white metal used to make stainless steel, to be a winner from the electric-vehicle revolution — it’s a key component of batteries.

But a Chinese metals giant with a knack of upending markets is threatening to spoil the party. Tsingshan Holding Group announced last month it’s building an Indonesian plant to produce nickel-cobalt salts for the battery market.

Transforming the Southeast Asian nation’s low-grade deposits into “class 1” metal — the equivalent of turning cheap table wine into a prized vintage — would disrupt the bullish narrative that’s helped shield nickel from a broader selloff in metal markets this year. Continue Reading →

Better nickel, base metal prices in 2020, Vale says – by Staff (Sudbury Star – October 26, 2018)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Lower prices for metals, including nickel, and the planned maintenance shutdown at its Sudbury operations, ate into Vale’s third-quarter revenues of its base metals division.

In a presentation Thursday, Vale said its base metals division generated US $778 million in the second quarter, but only $528 million in the most recent quarter.

“About 65 per cent of the decrease (in the third quarter) is related to the exogenous factor of lower prices of nickel, copper and cobalt, and 35 per cent mainly associated with Sudbury’s annual planned maintenance shutdown and its effects on lower by-product volumes and higher costs.” Continue Reading →

Vale still keen on nickel, at least in the long term – by Staff (Sudbury Star – October 25, 2018)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Vale said Wednesday it remains optimistic about the long-term prospects for nickel. The short-term, however, is another matter.

The company’s third quarter “results represented a tipping point for the Base Metals business,” Eduardo Bartolomeo, executive officer for Vale’s Base Metals division, said in a release. “We are undergoing an important restructuring process led by our new management team with the focus on optimizing our operations, stabilizing our cost structure and reviewing mine plans.

“We are creating the basis for the nickel business to generate strong cash flows in any price scenario, while keeping the optionality to capture the upside of emerging demand for nickel in electric vehicles.” Part of that restructuring has led to mine closures and job cuts in Sudbury and Thompson, Man. Continue Reading →

Flow of LME nickel to hidden storage dents bull story – by Eric Onstad (Reuters U.K. – October 19, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The bulk of nickel moving out of London Metal Exchange-approved warehouses in Asia is showing up in hidden facilities in Europe, analysts said, denting a bullish scenario of potential shortages.

LME nickel stocks have shrunk by about 40 percent this year, largely from warehouses in Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore, but much of that metal is not being consumed, industry sources and analysts said.

Nickel is mainly used to make stainless steel, but forecasts show that more will be needed for electric vehicle batteries in coming years. It has been the LME’s top performer this year and prices were up 25 percent in June, before the wider market was hit by macroeconomic worries. Continue Reading →

The Future of the Car May Be Older Than the Model T – by David Stringer, Chisaki Watanabe, Jie Ma, Jack Kaskey, Andrew Noel and R.T. Watson (Bloomberg/Mining.com – October 21, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

Vale has said it expects the EV revolution to boost battery market
nickel demand to as much as 700,000 tons in 2025, from just 36,000
tons this year.

(Bloomberg) — It took more than seven years for automakers to sell 4 million passenger electric vehicles. It’ll take about six months to sell the next million.

That surging demand is transforming the lithium-ion battery business, with more power packs expected to be installed in EVs this year than in consumer electronics, according to Bloomberg NEF. China, where subsidy-toting drivers own a third of the world’s passenger EVs, is doing the most to fuel the boom.

The market value of batteries used in electric cars, electric buses and related energy storage should multiply by about 10 times to a potential $500 billion by 2050, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. research. Many of the biggest battery producers aren’t benefiting now because they’re spending billions of dollars to add manufacturing capacity and form global partnerships with automakers. Down the line, though, the trend changes. Continue Reading →