Archive | Vale

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 →

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 →

Bidders for $500m Canada streaming deal as cobalt price surges–report – by Frik Els ( – January 30, 2018)

Cobalt prices have been one of the main beneficiaries of the scramble for battery materials by auto manufacturers.

The metal quoted on the LME recently topped $80,000 a tonne, a gain of 140% since the beginning of last year. Measured from its record low hit in February 2016, the metal is more than $50,000 more expensive.

Annual production of the raw material is only around 100,000 tonnes with the bulk coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where fears about political instability and the challenges of ethical sourcing combine to supercharge supply concerns. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Vale at work on pioneering Canadian cobalt stream deal – sources – by Barbara Lewis and Clara Denina (Reuters U.S. – January 30, 2018)

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON (Reuters) – Brazilian miner Vale is seeking to sell un-mined cobalt worth hundreds of millions of dollars to investors, as speculation rises over a shortage of the metal needed to make batteries, sources familiar with the matter said.

Such streaming, which allows an investor to make an upfront payment in exchange for future production at a discounted price, has expanded as a form of finance for precious and base metals companies but this deal would be a first for the booming cobalt sector.

Cobalt is a critical component in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and its price has benefited from a push by governments and automakers to promote electric vehicles to cut emissions from diesel and petrol cars. 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 →

Future of BHP and Vale’s Samarco joint venture remains uncertain – by James Thomson (Australian Financial Review – January 4, 2018)

The future of BHP Billiton’s stake in the Samarco iron ore joint venture in Brazil is unlikely to be resolved quickly, as the iron ore giant and its co-owner Vale inch towards a restart of the operation.

Reports out of Brazil on Thursday suggested that Brazilian giant Vale and BHP were holding talks on the future structure of the Samarco venture, which has been shut since a deadly dam failure in November 2015.

A Bloomberg report suggested that one option could see Vale acquire Melbourne-based BHP’s half-share and taking full ownership of Samarco. Continue Reading →

Letter to the editor: A better suggestion for parkland in northern Manitoba – by Stephen Masson (Northern Miner – January 2, 2018)

Northern Miner

Stephen Masson is president of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Prospectors and Developers Association (MSPDA).

The Manitoba Saskatchewan Prospectors and Developers Association (MSPDA) takes the strong view that while it agrees with Stephen Fletcher’s view that a creating a new national park on Manitoba’s Nickel Belt is an irresponsible action by the federal government (T.N.M., Nov. 16-Dec. 10/17), he should not have so quickly suggested a park in the Seal River area as an alternative.

Mr. Fletcher, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Charleswood-St James-Assiniboia and long-time federal Conservative Member of Parliament from 2004-15, is correct that establishing a park on the nickel belt only discourages further exploration in the province by its placement on an area of high mineral potential.

This is especially true given that northern Manitoba’s mining industry is in serious trouble. Vale in Thompson closed Birch Tree and in 2018 will close the smelter in Thompson. Add this to the closure in just three years of Triple 7 and Reed Lake mines operated by Hudbay Minerals. Continue Reading →

MLA Steven Fletcher: Don’t create national park on Thompson Nickel Belt extension (Northern Miner – December 2017)

Northern Miner

The following is an edited transcript of Steven Fletcher — Independent Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Assiniboia and a Conservative Member of the Canadian Parliament from 2004–15 — speaking in the Manitoba Assembly on Nov. 9 on the subject of a proposal to establish a national park overtop an extension of the Thompson nickel belt.

This is an issue of urgency and of public importance. The federal Liberal government announced, in their 2017 budget, plans for a national park. Though we are all supportive of parks, it’s very important where the parks are located.

The federal government announced it, apparently without consulting anyone — First Nations communities, not sure if they consulted the provincial government or not. If they did, the provincial government should have said no. And if they didn’t, the provincial government should have said no immediately after the announcement. Continue Reading →

Miners Invest $5b in Indonesia Nickel Smelters in First 10 Months – by Sarah Yuniarni (Jakarta Globe – December 28, 2017)

Jakarta. Thirteen mining companies have invested a combined $5.03 billion in the construction of nickel smelters during the first 10 months of this year to comply with Indonesian government requirements, an official at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo issued a government regulation earlier this year to amend several articles in a 2010 mining regulation, which now requires miners to process raw materials within Indonesia before exporting them. To do this, miners must build smelters to produce value-added products.

“Our new regulation, issued [by the president] this year, contributes to the value-added nickel products and it has had a positive impact on smelter investment this year,” Bambang Gatot Aryono, the ministry’s director general of coal and minerals, told reporters on Wednesday (27/12). Continue Reading →

Vale rep lays all the cards on the table during Thompson’s last chamber meeting of 2017 – by Kyle Darbyson (Thompson Citizen – December 20, 2017)

Throughout 2017, news about Vale’s cutbacks in Thompson has been on the minds of many local residents, especially after their Birchtree facility was put on care and maintenance back in October.

In an attempt to quell concerns about where the company is headed, Mark Scott, the vice-president of Vale’s Manitoba Operations, attended the Dec. 13 Thompson Chamber of Commerce meeting to provide an overview of the challenges the company will be facing in the new year.

Throughout his presentation, Scott made no bones about the continued work force reductions that will be coming to Vale at the end of 2017 and once the smelter and refinery closes down in the third quarter of 2018. Continue Reading →

Ethical investors tightening screws on emerging-market debt issuers – by Claire Milhench (Reuters U.S. – December 18, 2017)

LONDON (Reuters) – For years, the Brazilian mining conglomerate Vale was a darling of emerging market investors, who were happy to ignore the company’s poor record on environmental and social issues because of the high yields its bonds paid.

But warnings about the company’s policies were horribly vindicated in 2015, when a dam holding back waste at its Samarco mine burst, killing 19 people in Brazil’s worst-ever environmental disaster.

Prices on Vale and Samarco bonds plummeted by about a third after the disaster. Vale, along with mine co-owner BHP Billiton, is facing a multi-billion dollar claim. Continue Reading →

Vale’s reality check for nickel’s electric vehicle dreams – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – December 12, 2017)

Nickel is one of the materials expected to win from the coming electric vehicle (EV) revolution. Electric vehicles will be powered by lithium-ion batteries, which need cobalt and nickel. Indeed, as cobalt’s potentially fragile supply chain comes under ever-increasing scrutiny, battery-makers are likely to try to use less of the stuff in favor of more nickel.

So it might seem strange that the world’s largest nickel producer is actively curtailing capacity at mines and refineries. Yet that is precisely what Brazil’s Vale is doing, removing around 100,000 tonnes of supply over the next two years.

While “everyone knows there are great opportunities” for nickel in the EV sector, “prices are not there”, according to Vale Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman, speaking at an investor event last week. Continue Reading →

Vale to mothball New Caledonia nickel mine if no stake buyers found – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – December 8, 2017)

Vale will mothball its troubled nickel project on New Caledonia in the second half of next year if it has not found a strategic partner prepared to purchase a stake of 20 to 40 per cent, according to its chief executive.

Speaking to journalists in London, Vale boss Fabio Schvartsman said the Brazilian miner would not continue to “invest and lose money” on the loss-making mine, which cost billions of dollars to build and has been dogged by problems.

Asked when the sale process would end Mr Schvartsman said June after which time the mine would be put on care and maintenance if a partner had not been found. Continue Reading →

Biggest Iron Ore Miner Threatens to Flood Market If Prices Surge – by R.T. Watson and Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – December 7, 2017)

Vale SA has a somber message for anyone betting on iron ore prices returning to the heady days of 2011.

The world’s biggest producer of the steel-making ingredient is prepared to unleash as much as 50 million metric tons of spare capacity to balance the market if prices get too high, Chief Executive Officer Fabio Schvartsman said.

High prices would lure inefficient producers back into the market and risk a repeat of past excesses that led to $1 trillion in value destruction, he said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television from the New York Stock Exchange, where Vale held its annual investor day. Continue Reading →

Vale cuts nickel output but is positive on long-term demand – by Christian Plumb (Reuters U.S. – December 6, 2017)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Brazilian miner Vale SA dialed back its nickel output forecasts for the next five years on Wednesday, although the world’s top producer of the metal praised its longer term prospects on likely soaring demand for electric cars.

Vale cut its nickel output estimate by 15 percent to 263,000 tonnes next year and said it was still seeking an investor for its New Caledonia nickel mine.

However, Vale wants to “preserve its nickel optionality” ahead of an expected boom in electric vehicles in the next decade, said Jennifer Maki, executive director of Vale’s base metals unit, at an annual investor presentation in New York. Continue Reading →