Archive | Nickel

Editorial: Mine extension announcement good for remaining Vale employees (Thompson Citizen – July 7, 2021)

Last week’s announcement that Vale Manitoba Operations is spending $150 million on the first phase of a mine extension and exploration project in Thompson is good news, even if it won’t have much effect on the size of the local workforce.

The money being spent to construct a new ventilation raise, extend power distribution underground and increase backfill capacity so that mined areas can be filled in and mining start in new areas faster will go mostly to contractors, Manitoba Operations general manager Gary Annett told the Thompson Chamber of Commerce June 30, but will also extend the mine life by 10 years and result in up to 30 per cent more production.

That provides stability to the people who survived the job-shedding of the past few years at Vale and, perhaps, the possibility of more jobs down the road if nickel prices take off in concert with electric vehicle production and sales. Continue Reading →

The US wants to make EV batteries without these foreign metals. Should it? – by Maddie Stone ( – June 30, 2021)

Nickel and cobalt have precarious international supply chains, but eliminating them from batteries raises tough questions.

The electric vehicle or EV revolution owes its existence to lithium batteries, and those batteries have a cocktail of specialized minerals to thank for their high performance.

In most cases, that cocktail’s ingredient list includes cobalt and nickel, minerals that help deliver the long lifespan and range that consumers increasingly demand of EVs.

But with hundreds of millions of new EVs expected to hit the streets in the coming decades, skyrocketing demand for nickel and cobalt could strain mineral supply chains. Fearing a supply shortage that would slow the EV boom, the U.S. Department of Energy is now proposing that we eliminate cobalt and nickel from batteries altogether. Continue Reading →

Vale pumping millions into Thompson mining activities – by Martin Cash (Winnipeg Free Press – June 30, 2021)

The future of the mining industry in Manitoba received a major boost on Tuesday as Brazilian mining giant, Vale, said it is investing $150 million that will extend current mining activities in Thompson by 10 years.

But that will just be a prelude to what could turn into close to $1 billion of new investment over the next decade to significantly expand mining operations in the northern Manitoba city into 2040.

The Phase 1 work is already underway upgrading ventilation, building increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution that should be completed by 2023. Continue Reading →

CHART: Study predicts over 400% increase in copper, lithium, nickel battery demand – by Editor ( – June 30, 2021)

BloombergNEF has upped its predictions for annual demand for lithium-ion batteries by more than a third from its previous forecast on the back of expectations for rapid growth in the passenger vehicle segment.

BNEF predicts annual demand for lithium-ion batteries will pass 2.7 terawatt-hours per year by 2030 – a 35% increase from the analytics company’s forecast made last year. Passenger vehicles will represent 72% of the overall market as sales race to 14 million by 2025 from just over 3 million last year.

BNEF expects China to extend its lead in the battery supply chain — particularly processing and refining. The country accounts for almost half of new lithium hydroxide projects coming online this year and has 55% of the world’s nickel sulfate market and 80% of the global market for cobalt sulfate, according to the report. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Vale Strike impacting battery market – by Staff (Sudbury Star – July 2, 2021)

Analyst senses labour dispute could extend for months

A strike at Vale’s Sudbury operations is taxing a nickel market that’s key to powering electric vehicles. The job action by USW Local 6500 is now entering its second month, with no new contract talks planned.

Bloomberg News notes that Sudbury is one of the world’s few producers of nickel pellet, a form used to produce alloys for aerospace, electronic and nuclear industries.

Production at Vale’s northeast Ontario operation halted when unionized workers went on strike on June 1. The disruption is driving consumers to tap battery-grade nickel briquette as an alternative. Continue Reading →

Vale spending $150 million on first phase of Thompson mine extension project – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – June 29, 2021)

Vale is spending $150 million on the first phase of the Thompson mine extension project, which will extend current mining activities by 10 years, the company announced June 29.

“Aggressive” exploration drilling of known orebodies is also continuing, which could mean ore extraction could continue well past 2040, Vale says.

Work to be completed during the first phase of the project includes construction of new ventilation raises and fans, increasing backfill capacity and adding power distribution infrastructure. Vale expects the changes to improve current production levels by 30 per cent. Continue Reading →

Strike at Vale’s Sudbury Operation Strains Battery Nickel Supply – by Mariana Durao and Yvonne Yue Li (Bloomberg News – June 29, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — A strike at Vale SA’s Sudbury operations in Canada is taxing a nickel market that’s key to powering electric vehicles.

Sudbury is one of the world’s few producers of nickel pellet, a form used to produce alloys for aerospace, electronic and nuclear industries. Production at Vale’s northeast Ontario operation halted when unionized workers went on strike on June 1. The disruption is driving consumers to tap battery-grade nickel briquette as an alternative.

That shift is increasing competition for briquette, pushing up North American premiums, or extra charges consumers pay on top of nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange, as stockpiles of the metal dwindle. Inventories of briquette, the main form of nickel stored at LME warehouses, have fallen 9% since a peak in April and are now at the lowest in more than a year. Continue Reading →

Krasnoyarsk Govt to support Nornickel in sevenfold expansion of Taimyr South Cluster mining operations including Zapolyarny upgrade – by Paul Moore (International Mining – June 28, 2021)


MMC Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and one of the largest producers of platinum and copper, and the Government of the Krasnoyarsk Territory have signed an agreement on cooperation in the implementation of investment projects in the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

The document was signed on June 28 in the representative office of the Krasnoyarsk Territory in Moscow by Vladimir Potanin, Nornickel President, and Alexander Uss, Governor of the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

The agreement is intended to support businesses that run investment projects in the region. One of such projects is Nornickel’s plans for construction of new mining facilities and an upgrade of the Zapolyarny Mine, collectively an expansion referred to as the South Cluster and part of Nornickel’s Polar Division on the Taimyr Peninsula. Continue Reading →

A Mining Startup’s Rush for Underwater Metals Comes With Deep Risks – by Todd Woody (Yahoo/Finance/Bloomberg – June 2021)

(Bloomberg) — A seabed mining startup, DeepGreen Metals Inc., has successfully sold itself to investors as a game-changing source of minerals to make electric car batteries that can be obtained in abundance—and at great profit—while minimizing the environmental destruction of mining on land.

But there’s strong scientific evidence that the seabed targeted for mining is in fact one of the most biodiverse places on the planet—and increasing reason to worry about DeepGreen’s tantalizing promises.

Bloomberg Green’s examination of corporate and legal filings, regulatory records and other documents raises questions about DeepGreen’s business plans. Continue Reading →

With nickel reserves running out, Sudbury is an expensive place for Vale to do business – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – June 23, 2021)

Vale COO implores striking Steelworkers to help get costs under control, find solutions to keep mining in the Sudbury basin

Vale’s Dino Otranto claims it can’t be business as usual, not when the Sudbury base metal mining operations he oversees “occupy the highest cost position of any mines on the planet.”

With operations at a standstill heading into the fourth week of a strike by Steelworkers Local 6500, Vale’s chief operating officer for its North Atlantic Operations and Asian Refineries took to the web on June 17 for a virtual town hall meeting, spelling out the shape the business in the Sudbury basin and the “tough conversations” that need to take place.

The web event was attended by 956 registered attendees for the sessions. Management only addressed a portion of the 115 questions sent in. “The past is not the recipe to sustain this, moving forward,” Otranto said. “And there is no consultant that’s going to come in and give us the silver bullet. Continue Reading →

Federal government needs to protect critical minerals industry as China tightens grasp, report says – by Jesse Snyder (National Post – June 21, 2021)

Full Report:

The study by the Commons natural resources committee details how Ottawa has failed to secure supply chains for the strategic minerals, which could have major consequences

OTTAWA — The federal government is due for a “wake-up call” on the need to protect Canada’s critical minerals industry, as China tightens its grip on supplies of rare earths and other crucial materials, a new Parliamentary report says.

The minerals, which include magnesium, lithium and cobalt, are used to make electric car batteries, mobile phone components, solar panels and guided missiles.

A study by the House of Commons natural resources committee, tabled last week, details how Ottawa has failed to secure supply chains for the strategic minerals — a shortcoming that could have major consequences as next-generation technologies take up a growing share of the global economy. Continue Reading →

ENERGY TRANSITION: US battery strategy aims to eliminate nickel, cobalt – by Andrea Hotter (Metal Bulletin – June 17, 2021)

Full Report:

The United States has published a strategy for lithium-ion battery manufacturing which calls for the elimination of cobalt and nickel from the cathode by the end of the current decade.

It intends to achieve this through research and development into new technologies, with the goal of establishing a domestic battery supply chain that meets the demands of the growing electric vehicle (EV) and electrical grid storage markets, the government said in the strategy document.

The blueprint has been developed by the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries, which is led by the government’s departments of Energy, Defense, Commerce and State, and includes many other organizations across the US government. Continue Reading →

Russia’s Nornickel uses digital tokens to fight illegal mining and trafficking of minerals – by Vladimir Basov (Kitco News – June 16, 2021)

(Kitco News) – Russian mining giant Nornickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a major producer of platinum and copper, said that use of smart contracts in the company’s trading operations, where digital tokens are backed by the metals produced by the company, could help to fight illegal mining and trafficking of minerals, among other measures.

Nornickel delivered its suggestions during a roundtable dedicated to the fight against crime in the field of mining and circulation of minerals and precious metals.

The event was initiated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Customs Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The Russian side was represented by Nornickel. Continue Reading →

The U.S. has grand ambitions to conquer the global EV market — it can’t win without Canada – – by Ryan Castilloux (Financial Post – June 16, 2021)

Ryan Castilloux is managing director of Adamas Intelligence, which provides research on strategic materials and minerals.

A US$174-billion U.S. plan to spur domestic production and sales of U.S.-made electric vehicles while bolstering domestic supply chains, from raw materials to parts, dovetails with allies Canada and Australia’s ambitions to become leading suppliers of raw materials to parts.

The plan is part of the massive US$2-trillion spending plan unveiled by U.S. President Joe Biden in March, that aims at creating millions of “good jobs,” rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, and positioning the U.S. to “out-compete China.”

From a raw materials perspective, there are four main facets of interest for the Canadian auto sector in the U.S.’s grand ambition to win the EV market. Continue Reading →

Vale, Local 6500 ‘remain apart on important issues’ – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – June 16, 2021)

Clawbacks to benefits and pensions are the main sticking points for Local 6500, union officials said Tuesday — a day after members resoundingly shot down a new offer from Vale.

“Times are good right now in Sudbury — in fact they’re very good,” said Myles Sullivan, assistant to USW District 6 director Marty Warren, during a press conference.

“Now is not a time to be forcing us out on strike, demanding concessions. So yeah, we’re disappointed and frustrated, but ready to roll up our sleeves and get back to the bargaining table. It takes two sides to do that and we’re ready.” Continue Reading →