Archive | Nickel

Global miner BHP plans to expand nickel output amid battery boom (Reuters U.S. – May 21, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Global miner BHP Group on Wednesday said it plans to expand its nickel sulphide operations amid an expected boom in demand for the material in electric vehicle batteries.

But the company is not looking to produce main battery ingredient lithium as it sees such output having slimmer profits.

Speaking at a strategy briefing on long-term asset allocation, BHP Chief Financial Officer Peter Beaven said growth in nickel could come from either exploration or acquisitions. 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 →

The Uncertain Future of the Boundary Waters – by Stephanie Pearson (Outside Magazine – May 20, 2019)

https://www.outsideonline.com/

At 1.1 million acres, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the largest and most popular backcountry destinations in the U.S. and a longtime proving ground for adventurers. But now the region is facing the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining. Stephanie Pearson paddles into the wild.

The new moon is invisible, and the night is black. My sister, Jen, is paddling in the stern. Her shivering wobbles the bow where I’m sitting. Canoeing in 45-degree weather at midnight dressed in T-shirts and underwear is not our normal behavior while camping in northern Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in September.

But an enormous black bear is on its hind legs, ten feet away, aggressively swiping at the food pack dangling from a low tree branch at our campsite. By the sound of its grunts, it’s hungry.

In our panic, we failed to forage for layers. Jen scooped up her sleeping bag and white Labrador, Sunny, I grabbed my knife and headlamp, and we tripped over ourselves to get to the water’s edge, where we launched the canoe. Continue Reading →

What The Heck Is That? — Our industrial Lake Louise – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – May 16, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Few people would mistake Sudbury for Banff, and yet there is one spot just northwest of the city off MR 35 that I like to think of as our own little Lake Louise.

Easily spied on the west side of the road near the turnoff to William Day Construction, its surface is a vivid turquoise that has no doubt caught the attention of a few passing motorists other than myself.

It jumps out just as much, if not more, when you look at it from an aerial, satellite perspective in Google Maps, its hue so distinct from the other water bodies around it — more San Jose teal than Maple Leafs blue. Continue Reading →

Conservation groups ask Court of Appeals to strike down Minnesota’s metal mining rules as too vague – by Jennifer Bjorhus (Minneapolis Star Tribune – May 16, 2019)

http://www.startribune.com/

With a new mining boom on the horizon for Minnesota’s Iron Range, lawyers for a coalition of conservation groups told an appellate panel Thursday that state rules governing metal mining are inadequate to protect the environment.

The case is the first legal test of Minnesota’s environmental rules for copper-nickel mining, and comes as international companies plan the state’s first hard-rock mines: two large copper mines near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) in northeastern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and other advocacy groups filed a petition challenging the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) rules last December, shortly after the agency issued a key and final permit to PolyMet Mining Inc. 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 →

Vale still confident about nickel prices – by Staff (Sudbury Star – May 11, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

A deadly dam disaster in its home country of Brazil has put Vale SA in the red. On the bright side for Sudbury, however, the company remains cautiously optimistic about the demand and price for nickel.

Bloomberg News reports Vale suffered the first quarterly loss since late 2015 as the company set aside funds to cover damages, legal costs and other obligations related to the dam disaster that left hundreds dead in January.

The agency said he world’s largest iron ore producer set aside US$4.5 billion and posted a loss of $1.64 billion as the company comes under strict government scrutiny that resulted in authorities freezing billions of dollars of its assets to ensure the victims will be compensated and environmental remedies will be implemented. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-BHP to keep Nickel West, Rio looks to Jadar lithium for battery boom (Reuters Africa – May 14, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Global miner BHP will hold on to the Australian nickel operations it previously put up for sale, while Rio Tinto is working on copper and lithium projects as the mining industry bets on demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The biggest mining companies say they are well positioned to provide the metals needed for the shift to EV technology, although they acknowledge the political risks and environmental issues in some of the countries where the best supplies are found.

Nickel is in demand to allow cars to travel further on a single charge. Using more nickel also cuts costs by reducing the use of expensive cobalt, a mainstay of current EV batteries. Continue Reading →

Minnesota’s PolyMet Mining move could result in Glencore majority ownership – by Mike Hughlett (Minnesota Star Tribune – May 7, 2019)

http://www.startribune.com/

PolyMet Mining plans to raise $265 million in a stock offering to existing shareholders, a move mainly intended to pay off debt to the company’s longtime backer, mining and commodities giant Glencore.

Depending on how the offering shakes out, Glencore may end up with majority ownership of PolyMet, which plans to develop Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine. Switzerland-based Glencore already owns 29% of PolyMet.

In March, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted PolyMet the last major permit it needs to proceed with the controversial project on the eastern Iron Range. PolyMet still faces several legal challenges to the mine and processing plant, and it must raise money for the $1 billion project. Continue Reading →

Boundary Waters at Risk – by Carlos Rivero Lopez and Jenny Rowland-Shea (Center for American Progress – May 8, 2019)

Center for American Progress

Trump’s Attempts to Shortcut Science and Ignore Local Concerns Are Endangering Minnesota Wilderness

In early April, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) faced off against Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue during a hearing of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

The congresswoman lambasted Perdue for the last-minute cancelation of a two-year study meant to determine if mining should be allowed on the doorstep of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the nation’s most visited wilderness area.1 The study was canceled 20 months into the 24-month review.

“Twenty months of collecting public input, 20 months of science-based assessment, and all you released was a one-page press release,” objected McCollum, calling the press release “completely inadequate.” Continue Reading →

Minnesota environmentalists step up fight against Twin Metals’ copper project – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – May 6, 2019)

http://www.mining.com/

A coalition of businesses, environmental advocates and outdoor recreation groups in the state of Minnesota, U.S., have gone to court challenging a Trump administration’s decision that opened the door to a copper, nickel and platinum project in a wilderness area.

Chilean miner Antofagasta (LON:ANTO), through its subsidiary Twin Metals, is in the midst of carrying out a feasibility study for the project, an underground copper-nickel mine and processing facility along the shores of Birch Lake and the South Kawishiwi River, which lie in the Rainy River watershed.

It’s the location of the project which has triggered concerns among locals. Last week, more than two dozen former U.S. Forest Service staffers sent a letter to the government, outlining the risks a proposed mine in the area would carry. Continue Reading →

Tesla Manager Sees Risk of Battery-Minerals Shortage in Future – by Laura Millan Lombrana and Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – May 2, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Booming demand for electric vehicles and insufficient investment in mines could result in a global shortage of minerals needed to manufacture rechargeable batteries in a few years’ time, a Tesla Inc. representative told U.S. officials and mining executives in a meeting in Washington.

Prices for some of the minerals, which include graphite, cobalt, lithium and nickel, could increase as a result of the high demand and the limited supply, Tesla global supply manager of battery metals Sarah Maryssael said in a closed-door presentation Thursday confirmed by the company.

Investment is important to ensure there is sufficient supply for the industry to grow, she said. Funding for projects to mine these minerals in certain countries has been challenging in the past, Maryssael said at the presentation. Continue Reading →

Ideas: The Sudbury Effect: Lessons from a regreened city (CBC Radio Ideas – April 22, 2019)

 

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/

Forty years ago, nickel mines and smelters around Sudbury, a relatively small city in northern Ontario, had created one of the most dramatic examples of environmental devastation in the history of our planet. The nearby landscape appeared dead and blackened.

Today, Sudbury boasts some of the cleanest air of any city in Ontario. Formerly acidified lakes — and there are 330 substantial lakes within the city limits alone — have come back to life. The surrounding countryside is now green and forested.

“The big push at the beginning was liming large tracts of land,” explains Tina McCaffrey, supervisor of Greater Sudbury’s ‘re-greening’ program. Once the lime has neutralized the acids in the soil, workers plant grass seeds and, later, tree saplings. The process of diversifying and restoring the ecosystem takes decades, and is still underway. Continue Reading →

Worried about nickel supply, China battery maker BYD welcomes JV discussions – by Tom Daly (Reuters Canada – April 11, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Securing enough nickel is a major worry for electric vehicle firms, an executive from Chinese electric car and battery maker BYD Co Ltd said on Thursday, adding that the company would welcome joint ventures that help guarantee supply.

Nickel is one of several metals that are key components of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. A shift in battery chemistry toward higher nickel content, which would allow cars to go further on a single charge, is expected to boost demand further.

“The supply of nickel going forward is a big concern in everybody’s mind,” said Coco Liu, procurement director at BYD, at the Fastmarkets Battery Materials conference. Continue Reading →

KGHM’s mines in Canada face uncertain future – Staff (Sudbury Star – April 11, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Poland’s KGHM, which operates mines in Sudbury, may freeze some projects in Canada or the U.S. if they require big investments, its chief executive told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We are not currently thinking about selling foreign assets,” said Marcin Chludzinski told Reuters. “We’re considering strategies for the next few years.” All of KGHM’s foreign mining projects except those in Chile have been put under review, he said.

“It’s not that we want to or have to sell,” Chludzinski told the news agency. “It’s more that we are looking at these assets as a strategic reserve. We’re considering actions similar to those we took at the Morrison mine (north of Sudbury), which is to freeze a project.” Continue Reading →