Archive | Nickel

Should we mine copper and nickel in Minnesota … to help defeat climate change? – by Walker Orenstein (Minn Post – September 11, 2019)

Just as steel made from Minnesota’s iron ore powered the U.S. military to victory during World War II, supporters of copper-nickel mining in the state say the industry could help defeat another global challenge: the climate crisis.

Demand is on the rise for renewable energy and electric cars that rely on copper, nickel, cobalt and other metals. And as the world continues to transition away from fossil fuels, the need for those minerals will only continue to grow.

In August, Gov. Tim Walz told MinnPost the state should allow mining if it expects to reach a carbon-free future. “There’s 5.5 tons of copper in every megawatt of solar, and it comes from somewhere,” he said. Continue Reading →

Ontario to work with First Nations to unlock Ring of Fire – by Jean Lian (Northern Miner – September 2019)

Global mining news

Rick Gregford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, announced in August that the province would work directly with First Nation communities to develop infrastructure that unlocks the mineral-rich region in northern Ontario.

Establishing bilateral agreements with individual First Nation communities to replace the previous Liberal government’s collective-negotiations approach under a 2014 framework agreement with nine Matawa First Nation communities will expedite the building of a north–south corridor to the Ring of Fire.

Noront Resources (TSXV: NOT) — which says it holds 85% of all claims staked in the Ring of Fire — and Marten Falls First Nation released a statement in late August applauding the provincial government’s move. Continue Reading →

Cobalt 27 faces investor outcry amid accusations it’s selling ‘crown jewel’ assets at a loss – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – September 7, 2019)

Proposed buyout has some shareholders feeling like the company bought high and sold low as it tries to steer investors from cobalt to nickel

Toronto-based Cobalt 27 Capital Corp., which billed itself as an investment in the electric vehicle revolution, is facing outcries from some of its largest shareholders as it tries to sell its most valuable assets during a market low-point.

The company roared into the market in mid-2017 with an initial public offering, ultimately raising hundreds of millions of dollars to stockpile and acquire royalties on cobalt, an essential metal used in lithium-ion batteries. Within about a year the price of cobalt had hit a five-year peak, only to crash in the latter half of 2018 and never fully recover.

Now the company wants to steer its investors into nickel and to sell its main cobalt assets to its largest shareholder, Pala Investments. Other shareholders would receive $3.57 in cash, plus equity in Nickel 28, a new company that would hold the remaining assets including a stake in a nickel mine in Papua New Guinea. Continue Reading →

[Philippine Mining] Nickel output growth seen ‘subdued’ (Business World – September 5, 2019)

Business World

PHILIPPINE production of nickel is expected to continue “modest growth” in the next few years as a negative policy environment and falling ore grade offsets the effect of mines restarting after a 2017 crackdown on environment law violations, Fitch Solutions Macro Research said in a Sept. 3 industry trend analysis e-mailed to journalists on Wednesday.

“We expect the Philippines to see modest growth in nickel mine production in 2019 due to restarting mines and gains from current operations,” Fitch Solutions said in its note, titled: “Philippine nickel mining outlook showing upside potential.”

At the same time, it clarified: “We maintain our subdued nickel mining growth outlook for the Philippines over the medium to long term, underpinned by the country’s stringent environmental regulations and policy uncertainty that will undermine investment into the Philippine’s thin nickel project pipeline.” Continue Reading →

Nickel is the hottest metal in the world right now – by Darren MacDonald (Sudbury Northern Life – September 5, 2019)

Price is up 80% this year, with predictions it could hit US$11 a pound by the end of 2019

The price of nickel on international markets continued its dizzying climb Wednesday, breaking past US$8 a pound before settling in at US$8.17 late in the day.

It’s a surge Terry Ortslan, a nickel analyst at TSO and Associates in Montreal, saw coming in late 2018, when the metal was struggling to hit $5. A few factors were depressing prices at the time, Ortslan said, while predicting a rebound into 2019.

“We all know batteries for electric vehicles are going to be very important new demand source of nickel, as much as stainless steel was 50 or 60 years ago,” he said at the time. “So it’s going to be slow times for the next couple of months, but it’s a short-term issue. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire negotiation model has failed – by Ian Pattison (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – September 1, 2019)

THIS TIME nine years ago the potential of the Ring of Fire mineral belt in Northwestern Ontario was being realized. More than 30 mining exploration companies were digging around the James Bay lowlands and finding immense evidence of mineral deposits, chiefly chromite — the main ingredient in stainless steel.

People salivated over the economic impact and potential job creation. Then-premier Dalton McGuinty called the project key to Ontario economic recovery. His northern development minister, Thunder Bay’s Michael Gravelle, began the first of many meetings with First Nations in the region.

Initially, few in the business world took seriously the need to consult with First Nations before putting development plans in motion. This led to protests by those communities and eventually to a whole new legal framework ensuring such consultation would precede any development. Continue Reading →

Leo Gerard, retired president of United Steel Workers: ‘No one believed more in workers’ – by David Shribman (Globe and Mail – September 2, 2019)

Canadian labour activist Leo Gerard recently retired after 18 years as international president of the United Steel Workers (USW) – the largest industrial union in North America. The onetime smelter worker devoted his career to battling the wealth gap.

Mr. Gerard faced numerous headwinds as a labour leader. He has grappled with declining rates of union membership. He has taken on leaders of both U.S. political parties, whose free-trade orthodoxy collided with his members’ concerns about imports of steel and other products. And he has struggled with members of his own union who have little in common culturally with U.S. President Donald Trump, but are nonetheless drawn to the Manhattan tycoon because of his populist approach and his nationalistic rhetoric.

The discord roiled Mr. Gerard’s union and placed him in a difficult political position. He argued just after the Trump triumph that the new President was elected “by stealing our agenda.” Continue Reading →

Voisey’s Bay underground development hits 10% completion (CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador – August 28, 2019)

Workers staying on floating hotel while work on new living quarters underway

The quest to mine nickel from beneath the ground at Voisey’s Bay in Labrador is picking up steam with more than 430 workers on site. Joao Zanon, the project director for Vale, said the team ran into challenges in the early stages of the project during the harsh northern Labrador winter.

Once the snow melted and summer arrived, the project ramped up. A little over 10 per cent of the underground development is now complete, with a goal to be operational in the first half of 2020.

“We’ve picked up the development quite a lot in the past months and the speed will continue to increase as we … are able to mobilize more people to work underground,” Zanon said. Continue Reading →

Province starts over on Ring of Fire consultation process – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – August 17, 2019)

Ford government finally ditches 2014 Regional Framework Agreement with Matawa First Nations

The Ford government is taking a “fresh start” with area First Nations toward building a road to the Ring of Fire.

With no results to show from the previous government’s attempt at a regional dialogue on how to do mine development in the Far North, the Ford government is scrapping the Regional Framework Agreement (RFA), started five years ago, and is reaching out to the communities for a new approach.

Greg Rickford, minister for Indigenous affairs, energy, Northern development and mines, made the announcement on Aug. 27 in Sault Ste. Marie at Algoma Steel, the future site of Noront Resources ferrochrome processing plant, which will process chromite ore from the Ring of Fire. Continue Reading →

Noront, Algoma Steel discussing ferrochrome plant tenancy fees – by Darren Taylor (Northern Ontario Business – August 27, 2019)

Construction of Ring of Fire road could begin in the spring thanks to co-operation with First Nations communities, minister says

Progress is being made on the Ring of Fire project, to be developed in northwestern Ontario.

That from Greg Rickford, Ontario’s minister of energy, Northern development and mines, who was in Sault Ste. Marie on Aug. 27 to deliver an update on the project to officials at Algoma Steel.

Toronto-based mining company Noront Resources announced May 7 it had chosen Sault Ste. Marie – after the city had engaged in a long, competitive bidding process with other communities – as the location for its new Ferrochrome Production Facility (FPF), to be located on Algoma Steel property. It will process chrome ore from deposits Noront will be drawing from the Ring of Fire region, to be converted into ferrochrome for the U.S. stainless steel market. Continue Reading →

Ontario, First Nations moving forward with Ring of Fire development – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – August 27, 2019)

The Ontario government is taking a different approach so the Ring of Fire development can move forward. It expects bilateral agreements to be established with First Nations communities this fall, paving the way for the development of a north-south route.

The Ontario government says it’s establishing bilateral agreements with First Nations communities in order to start a north-south route to the Ring of Fire.

Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, said the Conservative provincial government’s plan to ink agreements with the First Nation communities and get a shovel in the ground is quicker and cheaper than that of its predecessor so that the “corridor to prosperity” can be built.

“Frankly, to this point it’s been a little complicated and lengthy. It has not necessarily met the timelines that the market should expect a project to come onboard,” Rickford told a Tuesday morning audience at Algoma Steel. Continue Reading →

[Seabed Mining] Progress at snail’s pace – by Donal Hickey (Irish Examiner – August 25, 2019)

Over the years, we’ve had controversies about the need to save rare snails which had got in the way of roadworks in places such as Ballyvourney, Co Cork, and the Pollardstown Fen nature reserve in Co Kildare. Some politicians tried to trivialise the issue and mock campaigners, but they missed the point.

The real story was that the presence of these snails was a sign of a valuable environment which was worth protecting. Now, the focus is taking a completely different turn, and another obscure snail comes into the picture.

Ironically, this ocean resident may be a victim of the drive to manufacture electric cars which are supposed to protect the environment. The seabed may well have to be mined to obtain some essential materials for electric car batteries, with negative effects on marine life. The seabed, more than half the world’s surface, contains more nickel, cobalt, and rare earth metals than all land reserves combined. Continue Reading →

Western Areas sees strong competition for its nickel – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – August 20, 2019)

Western Areas has flagged hot competition for its nickel when off-take agreements with BHP expire early next year and says the mining giant has only a small window to make premiums from its new battery-focused nickel sulphate plant.

Dan Lougher-led Western Areas said on Tuesday that the rise in electric vehicles was driving keen interest in nickel concentrate from its operations in Western Australia in the countdown to off-take agreements with BHP Nickel West and China’s largest stainless steel maker, Tsingshan, expiring early in 2020.

The company has invited 19 parties to tender for new off-take agreements and says it favours short-term deals based on optimism that nickel prices will continue to strengthen on the back of demand from makers of batteries and battery precursors. Continue Reading →

Russia’s Norilsk and S.African coal town Kriel top SO2 emissions hot spots -NASA data ( – August 19, 2019)

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Russia’s Norilsk smelter complex and a town in South Africa’s eastern coal mining province have the highest sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions in the world, according to satellite data from U.S. space agency NASA.

The NASA-compiled data published on Monday was commissioned by environmental group Greenpeace India and used the space authority’s satellites to track anthropogenic sulphur dioxide emission hot spots around the world.

Scientists say that excessive exposure to SO2 particles causes long-term respiratory difficulties and stunted growth in infants among other problems. Continue Reading →

Local View Column: Let’s have honest conversations about copper-nickel mining – by Dean DeBeltz (Duluth News Tribune – August 16, 2019)

Dean DeBeltz is director of operations and safety for Twin Metals Minnesota. He is based in Ely.

As people gather for the Wild Waters Music Fest in Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park today, there will be much conversation about what needs to be done to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

As Twin Metals Minnesota’s proposed mine plan moves through the regulatory process, those of us who work in mining will be an important part of those conversations — not only because we, too, care deeply about the Boundary Waters but because we are committed to the health of the communities of Northeastern Minnesota, where our common future lives.

The Iron Range we know today was built on both mining and the wilderness. The forests of northern Minnesota have been home to mines and logging operations, outfitters and outdoor adventurers continuously for more than 130 years. Continue Reading →