Archive | Nickel

Vale doubles down on nickel ahead of EV revolution – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – December 7, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Vale, the Brazilian mining giant built on supplying the world’s steel mills with iron ore, is now betting on the electric vehicle (EV) revolution to turn its nickel division around.

“We believe in this revolution to come,” Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman told analysts at the company’s investor day presentation in New York this week. The use of nickel in lithium ion batteries will translate into at least 500,000 tonnes of extra demand by 2025, according to Vale, which is planning to play a leading role in meeting the additional need for high-grade metal.

However, to do so, it will have to turn around its troubled New Caledonian operations, a task described by Schvartsman as “maybe our biggest challenge”. It will also have to gamble that Chinese players led by the Tsingshan steel group don’t make the technological breakthrough that would allow them to convert nickel ore straight into battery-grade nickel. Continue Reading →

Going green is not that easy for electric vehicles – by John Dizard (Financial Times – December 7, 2018)

https://www.ft.com/

Politics and supply chain difficulties suggest European battery push is too frenetic to work well

“For the European auto companies to change over to electric vehicles is like turning a battleship. And it’s a battleship with a mutinous crew.”

As the European policy world noticed with this week’s French government surrender on diesel taxes, going green is not that easy.

It will become even more difficult as EV production scales up. The problems are not only with public support for decarbonisation charges but with the increased burden on raw material supplies. Continue Reading →

JV Article: Cobalt 27 is Ready to Ride the EV Revolution – by Staff (Northern Miner – December 6, 2018)

Northern Miner

The preceding Joint-Venture Article is PROMOTED CONTENT sponsored by Cobalt 27 Capital Corp., and compiled in cooperation with The Northern Miner. Visit www.cobalt27.com for more information.

Cobalt 27 Capital Corp. (TSXV: KBLT; OTCQX: CBLLF; FRA: 270) is ramping up its exposure to the electric vehicle (EV) revolution with substantial cobalt stream acquisitions to complement its portfolio of battery metal royalties and inventory of physical cobalt.

This year Cobalt 27 acquired from Vale, the world’s first pure cobalt stream for US$300 million on Vale’s Voisey’s Bay mine located in Labrador. The stream, which is expected to deliver approximately 1.9 million pounds of cobalt per year to Cobalt 27, is to be settled in physical delivery for the life of the mine.

Also in 2018, Cobalt 27 acquired a 1.75% net smelter return royalty (NSR) on RNC Minerals’ construction-ready Dumont nickel-cobalt project in Quebec, which includes the world’s largest undeveloped cobalt reserve; and, a 2% NSR on Giga Metals’ Turnagain nickel-cobalt project located in British Columbia, one of the largest undeveloped sulphide nickel-cobalt deposits in the world (in terms of total contained nickel). Continue Reading →

Pioneering nickel sulphate venture draws down on loan – by Martin Creamer (MiningWeekly.com – December 6, 2018)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Black-controlled Thakadu Battery Materials, a pioneering South African high-purity battery-grade nickel sulphate developer, has made its first drawdown from South Africa’s State-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) under a R152-million loan facility agreement.

The IDC loan is funding yet another important milestone in the construction of Thakadu’s modular nickel sulphate purification plant at the Base Metals Refinery of Lonmin Platinum, in North West province.

The cold commissioning of the R250-million plant, which will have the capacity to produce 25 000 t of high-purity battery-grade nickel sulphate a year, is scheduled to begin towards the end of April, with commercial production planned for end of the first half of 2019. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: VALE AND GLENCORE TO INITIATE JOINT FEASIBILITY STUDY TO POTENTIALLY DEVELOP RESOURCES ACCESSIBLE FROM NICKEL RIM SOUTH MINE

SUDBURY, December 4, 2018 – Today, Vale and Glencore announced that they are entering into an agreement to facilitate a joint Feasibility Study to explore the possibility of developing and mining resources at depth accessible from the existing workings of Glencore’s Nickel Rim South Mine.

The Study will examine the economic and technical feasibility of using the existing shaft and infrastructure at Glencore’s Nickel Rim South Mine, as well as additional underground infrastructure, to potentially jointly develop and mine deposits in very close proximity to each other. This includes Vale’s Victor property and a shared deposit which exists adjacent to the boundary between each Company’s properties.

“A joint approach could allow for resources to be unlocked that would likely not otherwise be productive,” said Ricus Grimbeek, Chief Operating Officer, Vale’s North Atlantic Operations and Asian Refineries. “Assuming a successful outcome to our Study, this synergy could also lead to significant value generation – including job creation – at a time when the medium to long-term market outlook for both nickel and copper looks very promising,” he added. Continue Reading →

Below $5: Slumping nickel prices should rebound in three or four months, analyst says – by Darren MacDonald (Sudbury Northern Life – November 23, 2018)

https://www.sudbury.com/

‘We all know batteries for electric vehicles are going to be very important new demand source of nickel’

After surging this past spring by 75 per cent, nickel prices have sagged badly in recent weeks, and the price per pound dropped below $5 on Thursday.

The slump follows predictions of higher prices in 2018, a disappointment for an industry that has waited years to recover. It’s especially important in Greater Sudbury, where mining employs about 17,500 people directly or indirectly.

So what’s going on? Terry Ortslan, a nickel analyst at TSO and Associates in Montreal, said Thursday the industry is facing a double whammy that’s depressing prices. While the market for stainless steel wasn’t expected to drive the price, demand for the higher-grade nickel needed for electric car batteries has hit a few speed bumps. Continue Reading →

BASF makes low-nickel wager amid scramble for battery metals – by Ludwig Burger (Reuters U.S. – November 23, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German chemicals giant BASF is betting on a new recipe for electric car batteries which stretches the time between charges while cutting dependence on nickel to help shave costs and grab more of a growing market.

It is part of flurry of activity in the sphere of cathodes materials, a major component of battery cells for an anticipated switch to electric vehicles (EV) due to clean air regulation.

At the moment BASF and others, including Belgium’s Umicore, a market leader, are boosting the nickel content to allow more energy storage and replace expensive cobalt, which is largely sourced from mines in Congo, where exploitation is rife. Continue Reading →

BHP Nickel West mine receives EPA backing (Australian Mining – November 21, 2018)

https://www.australianmining.com.au/

BHP Billiton Nickel West’s proposal to build and operate a new nickel sulphide mine near Leinster in Western Australia has been approved by the state’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The company plans to integrate the satellite mine into the Mt Keith operation, extending its mine life by 12 years. The proposed Mt Keith project is anticipated to generate around 9.6 million tonnes (Mt) of nickel ore per year.

It is part of BHP Nickel West’s plan to transition into a globally significant battery materials supplier, revealed by asset president Eduard Haegel at the 2018 Diggers & Dealers Mining forum. Continue Reading →

Ni & Co CONFERENCE: Nine key takeaways from Xiamen – by Charlotte Radford, Susan Zou and Violet Li (Metal Bulletin – November 12, 2018)

https://www.metalbulletin.com/

The spotlight was in Xiamen last week when market participants gathered to discuss hot topics in the cobalt and nickel markets, including higher cobalt prices and their impact on the market in addition to new trends for the cobalt industry.

High prices do not hurt the overall use of cobalt in consumer electronics

Cobalt prices hit a near 10-year high in April, but the blue metal’s high prices will not lead to many cobalt substitutions in consumer electronics, according to battery manufacturer ATL’s procurement director, Xu Shihui.

Cobalt demand from the consumer electronics industry will continue to grow due to new trends, including the intact adoption of lithium-cobalt-oxide (LCO) batteries in laptops and smart phones. Continue Reading →

Generations Of Miners Face The Future Of Automation Deep Underground – by Mary Katherine Keown (HuffPost Canada/Thet Canada.com – November 13, 2018)

https://www.thetcanada.com/

A proud third-generation miner, Mickey O’Brien enjoys the every day grind of taking that deep dive to the centre of the earth. A miner at Vale’s Copper Cliff Mine in Sudbury, Ontario, O’Brien works 10-hour shifts. After suiting up and assembling, he and his coworkers break into a number of crews to start the new and soiled process of gnawing away on the earth greater than 1.5 km underground.

“I am on haulage,” O’Brien says. “Proper now I am driving a grader, however I am being skilled on a picker, so if we’ve massive chunks after a blast, the news will put them apart and I drill holes in them and I blow them up, and the news will come and decide them up. Cool, eh?”

A proud labour rights activist, he considers a lot of his colleagues — most of whom are members of Steelworkers Native 6500 — to be brothers and sisters. “I have been engaged on Inco property since I used to be 18 and I am 38 now,” he says, referencing the title of his firm earlier than it was purchased out by Vale in 2006. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicles spur race to mine deep sea riches – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – November 13, 2018)

https://www.ft.com/

Miners want to tap subsea deposits of cobalt and other rare metals for green technologies, but environmental campaigners are worried

Gerard Barron brandishes a small black rock — the size of the palm of his hand — and heralds it as the future: “It’s all right here, all the metals we need.”

The Australian entrepreneur believes these rocks, formed over millions of years at the bottom of the ocean, can help satisfy the growing demand for the metals used in batteries and clean energy technologies, and are therefore critical to the transition away from fossil fuels. Less than 20cm wide, the so-called nodules can contain nickel, manganese, copper and cobalt— all set to see a surge in demand over the next decade.

Mr Barron’s start-up, DeepGreen, which is backed by shipping group Maersk and Switzerland-based miner Glencore, plans to suck up thousands of tonnes of the nodules from the sea floor using harvesting vehicles, and send them up a pipe to a ship to be sorted. Mining in the deep sea (defined as below 200m) can avoid the problems of land mining, he says, such as deforestation, pollution and child labour, although critics say it produces a whole new raft of problems. Continue Reading →

On the Iron Range, new hopes and new anxieties – by Matt McKinney and Josephine Marcotty (Minneapolis Star Tribune – November 11, 2018)

http://www.startribune.com/

Permit approvals for PolyMet open a new chapter in an old struggle.

HOYT LAKES, Minn. – For years, residents of this struggling mining town have clung to the hope that their old way of life would return. But even so, when state regulators finally approved permits late last month for Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine, the news hit like a thunderbolt.

“You could feel it,” said Toni Thuringer, co-owner of the Haven Bar and Grill, who described a buzz that ran through patrons dining in the restaurant and elbowing up to the bar. “It’s just so cool because it’s been so long since we’ve had that feeling around here.”

In Iron Range towns left for dead by the mining industry’s last bust in the 1980s, the sudden realization that, after years of contentious debate, PolyMet Mining Corp. might actually open its $1 billion mine has fueled rousing talk. Continue Reading →

[Glencore] Old mine set to become tech vanguard for Sudbury-based corporation – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – November 9, 2018)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Onaping Depth touted by Glencore as future of deep mining with all battery-electric operation

The Craig Mine-Onaping Depth Project is not only becoming a reality, but it will also have the distinction of being the first mine to be completely battery-electric, even if it means building equipment that doesn’t exist, yet.

It’s also a melding of old and new, with the previous mine’s infrastructure being used to transport equipment and personnel to the deposit.

Peter Xavier, vice-president of Glencore’s Sudbury Operations, gave an overview of the company, with a focus on the company’s mine project, at a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Nov. 6. Continue Reading →

Environmental groups ask for suspension of PolyMet permits – by Jimmy Lovrien (Duluth News Tribune – November 8, 2018)

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/

Several Minnesota environmental groups asked state agencies to suspend permits for the contentious PolyMet copper-nickel mine in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, WaterLegacy and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness submitted a request for stay, or suspension, of permits issued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources last week and pending permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency until the Minnesota Court of Appeals rules on whether an additional environment review of the project is needed.

Before the groups can ask the Court of Appeals for a stay on the permits, they’re required to first request a stay of permits from the agencies themselves, WaterLegacy counsel and advocacy director Paula Maccabee told the News Tribune on Thursday. “It’s not like this is the endgame, but it is a preliminary step,” Maccabee said. Continue Reading →

Glencore to go deeper at Sudbury operations – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – November 7, 2018)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

“We have still, I believe, a lot of untapped potential in the Sudbury
basin, especially at depth,” said Xavier. A series of deep copper
deposits dubbed Norman West is particularly intriguing to the company.

Xavier also highlighted the strides the company has taken to reduce its emissions,
which have dropped 90 per cent over the past 30 years, while production has climbed.
And he noted Glencore has spent $272 million on a Process Gas Project at its smelter,
which will further reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.

“We’re committed to a long, stable future in Sudbury,” he said.
(Peter Xavier, VP of Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations – Glencore)

Cleaner. And deeper. That’s the direction Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (Glencore) is heading with its existing properties, a new nickel mine in the Onaping area and copper deposits it hopes to develop north of Capreol.

“Deep mining is where the future lies for us,” said Glencore VP Peter Xavier during an address to a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce audience Tuesday. “After 100 years of mining in the Sudbury basin, you can imagine a lot of the close-to-the-surface operations are getting depleted, and we’re having to go deeper.” Continue Reading →