Archive | Nickel

COLUMN-Nickel flies on supply hits; Indonesia could ground it – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 16, 2018)

LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Nickel has enjoyed a blistering start to 2018. On the London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month nickel has this week punched up through the $14,000 level for the first time since May 2015 to hit a Thursday high of $14,420 per tonne.

It has gained 10 percent since the start of the year and has bounced 34 percent from its December low of $10,740 per tonne. Speculative money has poured into this hot market, fund managers tripling their net long exposure LME-NI-MNET to the London contract over the course of December and January.

Shanghai investors have been equally enthusiastic, albeit with a Chinese twist of treating nickel as a bullish steel rebar derivative. Nickel is basking in the electric vehicle glow but the full demand impact is still in the future. Continue Reading →

[Norilsk Nickel] Deripaska in Faceoff With Abramovich in London Court – by Yuliya Fedorinova and Jess Shankleman (Bloomberg News – February 16, 2018)

Russian billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin have revived a years-old battle for control of the country’s biggest mining company, MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC.

The two tycoons each own roughly 30 percent of Norilsk Nickel and have long jockeyed for power in the company, which operates some of the richest mines in platinum, palladium and nickel, until President Vladimir Putin intervened in 2012. An agreement let a company controlled by Roman Abramovich buy a small stake in Norilsk Nickel in exchange for a promise to keep the peace.

Abramovich’s Crispian Investment Ltd. now wants to sell part of the stake, according to three people familiar with matter. The holding was about 5 percent at the start of 2017, implying a current value of more than $1.5 billion. Continue Reading →

In Duluth, more concern about copper-mining impact – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – February 8, 2018)

Supporters of the proposed PolyMet project won the field Wednesday night in Aurora on the Iron Range, but on Thursday evening in Duluth opponents of Minnesota’s first-ever copper mine made their case.

About 1,500 people attended the public meeting on permits for the proposed mine — about two-to-one against the project — with dozens on both sides speaking at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

It was the second of two meetings held to take public comments on the most important of 21 permits PolyMet needs in hand before it can begin to mine copper, nickel and other valuable metals near Babbitt and process them in an old taconite plant near Hoyt Lakes. Continue Reading →

Analysis: Southeast Asian nickel ore producers may miss the boat on EV demand – by Eric Yep ( – February 8, 2018)

Two key Southeast Asian nickel ore producers that shaped the market in recent years — the Philippines and Indonesia — are poorly placed to take advantage of a boom in battery demand from the growing electric vehicles market.

Their predicament stems from the lack of technology and investment needed to produce Class 1 battery-grade nickel sulphate — a direct outcome of the regulatory policies enforced by the two countries in recent years.

Two years ago, the Philippines and Indonesia were two of the world’s largest producers of nickel ore, accounting for a third of global production. The type of nickel laterite ore produced by them largely feeds the steel industry in China. Continue Reading →

Voisey’s Bay poised to capitalize on demand for cobalt, but Vale silent – by Terry Roberts (CBC News NL – February 06, 2018)

Sources say ballistic surge in cobalt prices makes underground mine project more likely

A ballistic surge in the price of cobalt could mean positive things for Labrador’s Voisey’s Bay mine, but if executives at Vale are excited, they certainly aren’t saying.

Reuters is reporting that the Brazilian mining giant, which owns the Voisey’s Bay mine and processing facility at Long Harbour, Placentia Bay, is looking to cash in on cobalt.

The international news agency is reporting that Vale is looking to sell unmined cobalt, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to investors and that could be a positive sign as the company decides whether to proceed with an underground mine at Voisey’s Bay. Continue Reading →

GRAPHIC-China demand and tight supplies set to sustain nickel price rally – by Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – January 30, 2018)

LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – A combination of surging China imports, tighter supplies and fund interest are expected to sustain prices of stainless steel ingredient nickel, which have reached their highest level in more than two years.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange hit $14,040 a tonne on Monday, the highest since May 2015 and a gain of more than 55 percent since June.

“The fundamental story for nickel has started off well and it is looking good for at least the next couple of years,” said Wood Mackenzie analyst Adrian Gardner. Wood Mackenzie forecasts a deficit of between 80,000-90,000 tonnes this year following a deficit of similar levels in 2017. Continue Reading →

A small town in Quebec could power the next wave of electric cars – by Ashley Renders (Vice News – January 30, 2018)

But Sudol doubts recycling would satisfy the demand for batteries.
The global population is growing and people want cell phones, cars,
urban transportation and a higher standard of living—all of this
is metal intensive, says Sudol. If we can’t dig for these metals
in a place like Quebec, which has strong restoration policies and
labour laws, “then where on Earth are we going to get these metals?”
he asks.

In other words, as long as car companies and cell phone companies
are clamoring for battery metals, Sudol sees only two options:
child miners in the DRC or rule of law in Quebec.

A small town in Northern Quebec could hold the keys to a future where electric vehicles are the norm.

A Toronto-based mining company called RNC Minerals Corporation wants to build a “battery metals” mine near Amos, Quebec, a town of less than 13,000 people that sits on the largest untouched deposit of nickel sulphide and cobalt in the world, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data cited by a company report. Continue Reading →

China ‘tweaks’ nickel import taxes to favour electric vehicles, Wood Mackenzie says – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – January 18, 2018)

Northern Miner

In mid-December, China made adjustments to import taxes on some nickel products that favour the production of electric vehicles.

Starting from Jan. 1, the import tax on nickel sulphate — a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries — was slashed to 2% from 5.5%, Wood Mackenzie says in a new report, while the tax on imports of nickel cathode for smelting purposes jumped from 1% to 2% (but it remained at the lower end for cathode more suited to plating and sulphate applications).

“With local sources pointing to the fact that over 60% of imported nickel sulphate is used in the production of ternary materials for NCM/NCA batteries, it is evident that China is laying the ground to support her capabilities in this field,” Wood Mackenzie states. (Lithium-ion batteries are composed of three parts: NCM batteries contain nickel, manganese and cobalt oxide, while NCA batteries contain nickel, cobalt and aluminum oxide.) Continue Reading →

WoodMac urges automakers to ‘get out their chequebooks’, secure energy metal supplies – by Henry Lazenby ( – January 17, 2018)

VANCOUVER ( – Auto manufacturers are ramping up strategies to cash in on the accelerating worldwide acceptance and demand for electric vehicles (EVs), prompting advice from research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie for automakers to ‘get out their chequebooks’ and take stakes in mines or new mine projects to lock-in future supply.

WoodMac issued a statement on Tuesday, following news that Ford will boost its investment in EVs to $11-billion between 2015 and 2022 – a sharply higher figure than a previously announced target of $4.5-billion by 2020.

Ford also revealed plans to expand its electrified portfolio to include 40 electrified vehicles globally, including 16 full-battery EVs by 2022. It outlined plans to accelerate investment in EVs and sportd utility vehicles (SUVs). Continue Reading →

Top China Nickel Producer Joins BHP in Prepping for EV Boom (Bloomberg News – January 18, 2018)

China’s top nickel supplier aims to boost output of a material used in car batteries by 40 percent this year, joining the ranks of global producers ramping up operations to meet demand from electric vehicles.

Jinchuan Group Co. expects to raise production of nickel sulphate to 70,000 metric tons from 50,000 tons in 2017, Simon Bao, vice general manager of its marketing unit, said in an interview in Shanghai. The country is already the world’s largest automotive market and sales of new-energy vehicles may hit 1 million in 2018 after topping 700,000 last year, according to manufacturers.

“While physical demand hasn’t picked up too significantly yet, it may surge in about two years,” Bao said Tuesday. The company is able to raise sulphate production without any technical barriers, he said, adding that nickel cathode output will be kept at 135,000 tons this year. Cathode is used in stainless steel. Continue Reading →

Car makers may need to take a stake in mines: Wood Mackenzie (Mining Journal – January 17, 2018)

Car makers may need to “get out their chequebooks” and take a stake in mines to guarantee materials for their shift to electric vehicles, according to research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie.

The comments follow automotive giant Ford’s announcement yesterday it would invest US$11 billion by 2022 in electrification, and expand its line-up to 40 EVs globally including 16 full battery EVs by 2022.

Wood Mackenzie director metals markets Gavin Montgomery said Ford planned to use NMC lithium-ion batteries in its EVs and it would be a challenge securing supply of the key raw materials, namely lithium, nickel and cobalt. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: RNC Minerals Plans Initiatives To Allow Decision To Begin Construction Of Dumont Nickel-Cobalt Project In 2019; Highlights Large Nickel And Cobalt Reserves

TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2018 /CNW/ – RNC Minerals (TSX: RNX) (“RNC”) expects to undertake a series of initiatives during 2018 to position the company to make a decision to begin construction of the Dumont Nickel-Cobalt Project, which contains the world’s largest undeveloped reserves of both cobalt and nickel, in 2019.

With many market participants expecting explosive growth in nickel and cobalt demand from the electric vehicle market over the coming decade, RNC continues to be approached by a number of potential strategic investors, offtake partners and financiers who could provide the financing required to begin construction.

“The Dumont Nickel-Cobalt Project, one of the world’s premier battery metals projects, contains the world’s largest undeveloped reserves of both cobalt and nickel. It also contains the 2nd largest nickel reserve and the 8th largest cobalt reserve of any deposit in the world,” said Mark Selby, President and CEO of RNC Minerals. Continue Reading →

Short-term shutdown at Vale’s Coleman Mine extended (CBC News Sudbury – January 12, 2018)

Mining company Vale says the Coleman Mine is expected to be back in production in mid-February, after being shut down last year for critical repair work.

The company originally said the repairs would be done in December. The union representing the workers said in December the repair work would continue until the end of January. Now, a spokesperson with the company says — based on recent inspections — the mine won’t re-open in mid-February.

“Some maintenance employees have been recalled to support the repair work to the shaft,” Danica Pagnutti with the company said. “In order to mitigate impacts to our people at Coleman, who have been temporarily laid off, we have recalled and transferred more than 200 production and maintenance employees to temporarily work at Coleman and other mine sites.” Continue Reading →

‘It’s probably one of the most difficult times in our history’ – by Kyle Darbyson (Thompson Citizen – January 6, 2018)

Union president braces for Vale cutbacks in 2018

After a rollercoaster year full of uncertainty and surprise announcements, Vale ended 2017 with more than 100 fewer jobs than it started the year with, which brings their total workforce in Thompson down to approximately 1,180 people.

Even though these job loses were announced well in advance, it doesn’t change the fact that the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 6166, the union these affected employees were members of, is definitely going to feel the squeeze in 2018.

Vale Manitoba Operations plans on permanently closing down their smelter and refinery in the third quarter of the year, which will reduce their total workforce to around 837 people. Continue Reading →

State of Minnesota releases PolyMet’s draft permit to mine – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – January 5, 2018)

The state of Minnesota has given its preliminary blessing to the construction and operations plan for the state’s first-ever copper-nickel mine, releasing PolyMet Mining Co.’s draft permit to mine for public review Friday.

The draft permit from the Department of Natural Resources includes specific plans for how PolyMet would mine near Babbitt and process ore near Hoyt Lakes over the next 20 or more years.

The permit release signals the state is generally satisfied with how PolyMet plans to build, mine and then close the operations without harming the environment — especially without releasing potentially acidic mine waste into the St. Louis River ecosystem. Continue Reading →