RPT-COLUMN-Nickel prices coming supply glut but stocks keep falling – by Andy Home (June 7, 2023)


LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) – Nickel has been the under-performer of the London Metal Exchange (LME) base metals pack this year. LME three-month nickel sank to a nine-month low of $20,310 per tonne last week and at a current $21,500 is now down by 31% since the start of the year.

Nickel is pricing in a looming supply glut as Indonesia builds out ever more production capacity in its race to be an electric vehicle battery metals giant. The country’s mined output grew by 48% last year and by another 41% in the first three months of this year, according to The International Nickel Study Group.

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Vale is ‘supplier of choice’ for automobile battery-grade nickel – by Len Gillis (Sudbury.com – June 6, 2023)


Company needs to keep up with the battery electric vehicle demand by expanding nickel and base metal operations in Sudbury by spending billions of dollars

Alfredo Santana, Vale’s chief operating officer for the company’s North Atlantic operations, told the Sudbury BEV In Depth conference last week that as his company has now become the nickel supplier of choice for the electric vehicle battery market, there will be an economic pay off with expansion of mining operations in Sudbury.

Santana was one of several speakers on the roster during the two-day conference held at Sudbury’s Cambrian College from May 31 to June 1.

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Minnesota plans rewrite of rules for copper-nickel mining near popular wilderness (Associated Press – June 1, 2023)


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota regulators have concluded that state rules governing where copper-nickel mines can be built are insufficient to protect the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from noise and light pollution, creating another potential obstacle to the proposed Twin Metals mine in northeastern Minnesota.

But the Department of Natural Resources declined as part of that decision Wednesday to declare a watershed that flows into the Boundary Waters off-limits to copper-nickel mining altogether, which had been a goal of the environmental group that challenged the regulations, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

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Decarbonization ambitions ignite debate over mining, permitting – by Robert Zullo (Iowa Capital Dispatch – May 31,2023)


The decarbonized, electrified future envisioned by the Biden administration, state governments, automakers, utility companies and corporate sustainability goals depends to a huge degree on minerals and metals.

Lots more lithium will be needed for car and truck batteries, as well as the big banks of batteries that are increasingly popping onto the electric grid to balance the intermittency of wind and solar power. Those batteries, as well as wind turbines and solar panels, also need copper, cobalt,, nickel, zinc and “rare earth” elements used in electric car motors and other clean technologies, among other materials.

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Industry, business groups optimistic on nickel mining bordering Lake Superior – by Bruce Walker (The Center Square – May 26, 2023)


(The Center Square) – Geologists and mining experts say Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula may provide a solution for an obstacle facing the electric vehicle transition. Minerals are needed, and this area has them.

U.S. manufacturers are largely dependent on foreign countries like China, Russia and Indonesia for critical minerals like nickel and cobalt, which are key materials for electric vehicle batteries. Automakers increasingly are looking for domestic supplies, and northern Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – a geological area bordering Lake Superior dubbed the Midcontinent Rift – may provide the solution.

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Nickel’s price paralysis could see mines ‘gobbled up’ cheap – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – May 25, 2023)


Miners say pricing mechanisms for nickel have struggled to keep pace with the industry’s shift to supplying the specialised needs of battery and electric vehicle makers, creating an opportunity for acquisitions on the cheap.

Australian nickel was traditionally sold to stainless steel producers in briquettes or powders, but miners such as BHP now sell the bulk of their nickel to electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla, which want nickel for the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries.

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Column: Why tear down the Superstack? Turn it into a tourist attraction – by Judith Van Boxel (Sudbury Star – May 17, 2023)


We are about to destroy the Superstack. What a wasted opportunity

Some years ago when I was a business owner, I was also a member of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce. At the time, the chamber was interested in the potential of Sudbury as a tourism destination in Ontario and I was asked to come up with an idea that would explore that possibility.

Together with a few friends who were local lodge operators and with added help from the Sudbury amateur radio operators, local army cadets and others, we attracted several hot air balloon pilots to Sudbury. One weekend in the summer, we hosted the first and only Sudbury Hot Air Balloon Festival that took place from the Lily Creek playing fields .

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Future of Canada’s mining industry hangs on who gets U.S. subsidies, with nickel the ‘litmus test’ – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – May 17, 2023)


Execs worry a quirk in the Inflation Reduction Act could allow nickel powerhouse Indonesia to qualify for tax incentives, making it almost impossible for North American companies to compete

Last month, Republican congressman Pete Stauber of Minnesota penned a pointed letter to United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai before she embarked on a trip to Asia.

“I write to express concern over recent comments by Indonesian government officials that the country is seeking to enter a limited free trade agreement with the U.S., to increase trade of critical minerals needed for EV batteries and other renewable technologies,” Stauber said in the letter, dated April 14.

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LME Fights to Regain Trust After Last Year’s Nickel Crisis (Bloomberg News – May 16, 2023)


(Bloomberg) — The embattled London Metal Exchange is still trying to rebuild faith in its nickel contract after an epic short squeeze last year, according to Chief Executive Officer Matthew Chamberlain.

The crisis last March, when the metal used in stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries spiked 250% in little more than 24 hours, brought the venerable LME to the brink of collapse. It raised doubts about the exchange’s viability as the world’s benchmark pricing mechanism for nickel and was followed by plunging trading volumes and frequent wild price swings.

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Column: Sudbury impact crater has created modern-day advantages – by Tim Philp (Sudbury Star – May 12, 2023)


Imagine, if you will, a calm, peaceful day in the middle of a shallow sea 1.8 billion years ago in the area of Sudbury Ontario. There was very little in the way of life on the planet, and what was there was mostly tiny life-forms somewhat akin to the bacteria of today. There would be little recognizable in the landscape due to the changes that the earth has undergone due to the shifting of the continents.

Suddenly, everything would have changed. Coming down from the sky, a large comet composed of water, dust, and rock strikes the planet with incredible force. This comet, between 10 and 16 kilometres across would have struck the planet at speeds of tens of kilometres per second, hardly even noticing the earth’s atmosphere as it plunged into the ground, deforming the earth’s crust up to 16 kilometres below the surface, creating a crater more than 250 kilometres across.

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The New EV Gold-Rush: Automakers Scramble to Get Into Mining – by Mike Colias and Scott Patterson (Wall Street Journal – May 15, 2023)


A scarcity of EV battery materials pushes car companies and miners to work closer together; for both, there is a learning curve

When General Motors began outlining plans in 2020 to fully switch to electric vehicles, it didn’t account for one critical factor: Many of the battery minerals needed to fulfill its plans were still in the ground.

“I remember seeing a report from our raw-materials team at the time saying, ‘There is plenty of lithium out there. There is plenty of nickel’,” said Sham Kunjur, an industrial engineer now in charge of securing the raw materials for GM’s batteries. “We will buy them from the open market.”

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‘We’re building that Ring of Fire,’ says Doug Ford – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 12, 2023)


Premier said Far North mine and road development will elevate standard of living in remote communities

Threats of litigation and conflict aside, Ontario Premier Doug Ford isn’t backing down from his government’s commitment to develop mines in the James Bay lowlands. “We’re building that Ring of Fire as sure as I’m talking to you,” said Ford in a media scrum in Brampton on May 11 for an unrelated announcement.

Ford responded after one Queen’s Park reporter asked him if his government will rethink its development plans in the Far North and if he’s “prepared to get on that bulldozer?” after absorbing much criticism and protests by Indigenous communities and leadership, and environmental activist groups, over his government’s approach to introducing Bill 71 in early March.

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Sudbury: Ancient Apocalypse to Modern Resource – by Ian Burron Ian (Geology For Investors – January 25, 2022)


The Sudbury basin was formed by a 10-15 km wide asteroid or comet impacting a shallow sea in what is now central Ontario, Canada 1.85 billion years ago. The resulting ~200-250 km wide crater is the second largest known in the world, being much larger than the 150 km Chicxulub crater formed by the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. If such as impact were to occur today it would certainly spell the end of life as we know it.

The basin is one of the oldest craters still in existence and has been deformed and eroded into its’ present oval shape and 60 km size. Although the basin itself is not easily recognizable as a crater, smaller scale features such as shatter cones are well known in the area, and a layer of rock fragments blasted out of the crater have been mapped as far away as Minnesota, some 800 km distant. A layer of ash and debris likely encircled the entire planet at the time.

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Nickel Rim South Mine wins national safety award – by Len Gillis (Sudbury.com – May 9, 2023)


Sudbury INO Nickel Rim South Mine named as winner of the National Metal Mine John T. Ryan Award for mine safety

Another major Sudbury mining operation has been recognized for a national mine safety achievement. Nickel Rim South Mine (Sudbury INO) has been named as winner of the John T. Ryan National Metal Mine safety award for 2022.

This follows the equally positive announcement that came out last week that Vale’s Coleman Mine won the regional Ryan Award. It was at the same time that Vale revealed the national John T. Ryan Trophy for 2022 in the Select Mines category for outstanding safety was awarded to the Voisey’s Bay Mine.

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Magmatic Nickel Deposits: The Needle in the Haystack – by Ian Burron (Geology For Investors – May 5, 2023)


About 30% of the world’s nickel (Ni) comes from magmatic deposits. Despite accounting for a minority of Ni production, magmatic deposits are highly sought-after due to their large tonnage, high grades, and ease of processing relative to Ni laterite deposits. In fact, the world’s most valuable ore body is a magmatic nickel deposit.

Magmatic Nickel Basics

As the name implies, magmatic nickel deposits form directly from molten rock. Mafic-ultramafic (metal-rich, silica-poor) magmas naturally contain higher Ni contents, and when this Ni encounters sulfur the two elements stick together to form droplets of sulfide melt.

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