Archive | Nickel Laterites

Glencore Sees Nickel in Best Shape in Decade Before EVs Take Off – by Mark Burton (Bloomberg News – November 21, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Glencore Plc is seeing the best market conditions for nickel in at least a decade, and electric cars are barely playing a part yet.

The miner and trading giant expects nickel’s 2017 deficit at 170,000 metric tons — one of the biggest in years and more than most market estimates — driven by a 9 percent demand increase from the steel industry, the top user. The market is tightening amid falling stockpiles and rising premiums for physical deliveries, said Owen Gibbs, a senior nickel trader at Glencore.

Prices recently hit a two-year high amid forecasts from banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. that an electric-vehicle boom will boost demand for battery metals in the next decade.
Glencore also expects a strong lift in nickel consumption from electric cars, but not materially until 2020. Once that happens, miners will struggle to keep up with faster usage, Gibbs said. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Nickel loses its electric car fizz, realises it’s still a steel play – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – November 20, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 20 (Reuters) – The nickel market is learning that there is a difference in believing you are the next big thing in battery metals and the reality that you are actually still beholden to the Chinese steel sector.

Nickel was one of the darlings at last month’s annual London Metal Exchange Week, with everybody from producers, to traders and consumers talking up its prospects on the back of the expected surge in electric vehicles.

The euphoria helped drive benchmark LME nickel to a more than two-year closing high of $12,920 a tonne on Nov. 6, but since then the price has stumbled. Continue Reading →

Philippines’ Duterte keeps open pit mining ban in policy clash – by Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – November 19, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has not lifted a ban on open pit mining, his spokesman said on Monday, going against the stance of a government panel and the environment minister who are seeking to reverse the policy.

Open pit mining is allowed under the laws of the Southeast Asian country, the world’s top nickel ore exporter. But, the former environment minister Regina Lopez banned it during her 10 months in office, saying the environmental degradation ruined the economic potential of places where it was done.

The Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), an inter-agency panel that makes recommendations on mining policy, last month asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to lift the ban. Roy Cimatu, the new Environment and Natural Resources Secretary, supports removing the ban. Cimatu replaced Lopez when she stepped down in May after the Philippine Congress voted not to confirm her. Continue Reading →

Nickel Supply Rush Seen Cooling Rally Before Batteries Boost (Bloomberg News – November 13, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Forget electric vehicles for now. Nickel must first contend with a new wave of supply from Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as a Chinese stainless steel market that’s at risk of slowing after a two-year boom.

The metal climbed to the highest level this month since June 2015, lifted by predictions of a jump in demand from electric vehicles. But prices have since retreated as the boost from new energy autos lies several years in the future and investors reset their focus on more immediate concerns.

Batteries will represent only 3 percent of demand this year, compared with the two-thirds used in stainless steel, according to the International Nickel Study Group. Continue Reading →

Sherritt formalises restructuring of Ambatovy JV – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – November 10, 2017)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Canadian diversified miner Sherritt International has signed a definitive agreement to restructure the Ambatovy Joint Venture (JV), which will see Sherritt transfer its 28% stake in return to eliminate debt from its balance sheet.

Under the terms of the JV restructuring, which was first revealed in May, the Toronto-based company will retain a 12% stake in the Madagascar nickel/cobalt mine, and cancel C$1.3-billion of accrued partner loans from its balance sheet.

Sherritt, which owned a 40% stake in Ambatovy, had for several quarters not been funding capital cash calls by its partners Sumitomo Holding (32.5%) and Korea Resources (Kores) (27.5%), balking against the ‘40 for 12’ issue. Continue Reading →

Spare a Nickel for Vale? – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – November 8, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Here’s a sign that 2017’s nickel boom is in full swing: Vale SA is looking to sell a slice of its New Caledonian unit, and seems to be attracting bidders.

The interest in Vale New Caledonia, or VNC, is surprising because the division — on a French-ruled island in the Pacific that’s due to hold a vote on independence next year — is one of the highest-cost mines in an industry that’s spent years losing money.

The existence of willing buyers is as strong a signal as you could want that the prospect of fresh demand from electric vehicle batteries is leading many to bet on a recovery from nickel’s three-year slump. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-London Metal Exchange Week galvanised by electric dreams – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – November 3, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – The future is bright. The future is electric. The green technology revolution lit up this year’s London Metals Exchange (LME) Week. “Electric vehicles are a great long-term story” for industrial metals, according to Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at BMO Capital Markets.

And this is a sector that has been looking for exactly that since the abrupt demise of the “super-cycle” story that accompanied the last big bull rally. Copper has traditionally been the talk of the LME Week cocktail parties and dinners because this is the time Chilean producer Codelco announces its premiums for the coming year.

But this year copper was rudely shoved out of the London limelight by new hot metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel. Particularly nickel, another core metallic component of the lithium-ion batteries that are going to power all those electric vehicles (EVs). Continue Reading →

Electric cars could give nickel a jolt (Bloomberg News/Sudbury Star – November 5, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Glencore and Trafigura Group Pte are often at loggerheads, but one thing they agree on: The nickel market will be transformed by the rise of electric cars.

Nickel sulphate, a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, will see demand increase 50 per cent to three million metric tonnes by 2030, Saad Rahim, chief economist at Trafigura, said in an interview. While other battery metals like cobalt and lithium have more than doubled since the start of last year, nickel prices have been subdued because of large inventories.

“When you look structurally, we should start to get bullish now,” Rahim said. “Are you going to be able to meet that demand when the time comes, given underinvestment in the supply side?” Continue Reading →

New chief of Brazil’s Vale aims to halve debt – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – November 5, 2017)

https://www.ft.com/

Fabio Schvartsman says he wants miner to become ‘results orientated’

The new head of Brazil’s biggest private company Vale has said the miner must halve net debt to less than $10bn if it wants to become a “results-orientated” company.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Fabio Schvartsman said reducing debt was his number one priority and that there was a better chance of restarting the Samarco iron ore mine — the site of Brazil’s biggest environmental catastrophe and which it owns 50:50 with BHP Billiton — if Vale were able to take control.

“If we are at the $10bn level, it doesn’t matter what happens with commodity prices,” said Mr Schvartsman. “Vale will be in a very sound position to do everything that is necessary.” The company’s current market capitalisation is $53bn. Continue Reading →

One Metal Will Be Transformed by the Electric Car Boom – by Mark Burton and Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – October 31, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Glencore Plc and Trafigura Group Pte are often at loggerheads, but one thing they agree on: the nickel market will be transformed by the rise of electric cars.

Nickel sulphate, a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, will see demand increase 50 percent to 3 million metric tons by 2030, Saad Rahim, chief economist at Trafigura, said in an interview. While other battery metals like cobalt and lithium have more than doubled since the start of last year, nickel prices have been subdued because of large inventories.

“When you look structurally, we should start to get bullish now,” Rahim said. “Are you going to be able to meet that demand when the time comes, given underinvestment in the supply side?” Continue Reading →

Electric cars set world’s nickel miners on new course – by James Regan and Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – October 31, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Battery makers are increasingly turning to nickel to help power growing global electric car sales, but only half of the world’s producers of the metal are likely to benefit, mining analysts and executives say.

Lithium batteries containing nickel, which helps keep a charge over longer distances, are being installed in electric cars from Tesla’s top-of-the-line Model X to General Motors Co modestly-priced Chevy Bolt.

The battery boom promises a new and growing market for miners producing high-grade nickel products. However, half the world’s supply of the metal, comprised of so-called ferronickel and nickel pig iron grades, is unsuitable for battery production, according to analysts at UBS. Continue Reading →

‘Leaner’ Vale reports better earnings, profits (Bloomberg/Sudbury Star – October 26, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Vale SA shares rose to the highest in two years after the world’s biggest iron-ore miner beat analysts’ earnings estimates on lower costs, stronger prices and record production.

Shares advanced for a sixth day, gaining 2.1 per cent at 10:18 a.m. in Sao Paulo, after the Rio de Janeiro-based company posted adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $3.02 billion for the third quarter, exceeding the $2.7 billion average of nine dollar-based [estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Pummeled by the biggest commodities downturn in a generation, Vale is once again generating cash after cutting costs and selling assets as prices recover. Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira is betting on new, high-grade deposits in northern Brazil to offset his transport cost disadvantage with Australian mines that are much closer to Chinese steel mills. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Nickel the latest metal to feel the electric vehicle buzz – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – October 25, 2017)

http://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – First it was lithium. Then it was cobalt. And now it is nickel’s turn in the electric vehicle spotlight. Nickel is just as important as the other two metals in manufacturing the batteries that will power the green technology revolution.

It is used in both currently dominant lithium battery configurations, nickel-cobalt-manganese and nickel-cobalt-aluminium. Indeed, it may increase its material share against cobalt, a metal that is posing all sorts of supply problems, both physical and ethical, for the automotive sector.

Growing demand from battery-makers will exacerbate “the predicted structural shortage of nickel between now and 2025,” according to research house Wood Mackenzie. Continue Reading →

Philippines environment minister hopeful for end to open-pit mining ban – by Manolo Serapio Jr and Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – October 24, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines’ environment minister said he was hopeful that a ban on open-pit mining would be lifted before the end of the year after a government panel recommended its removal on Tuesday. Lifting the ban would allow the development of some big-ticket mining projects including the $5.9 billion Tampakan copper and gold mine.

Open-pit mining is allowed under the mining laws of the Southeast Asian country, the world’s top nickel ore exporter. However, the former environment minister Regina Lopez banned it during her 10 months in office, saying the environmental degradation ruined the economic potential of places where it was done.

A staunch environmentalist, Lopez stepped down in May after she failed to win congressional confirmation. Roy Cimatu, a former soldier, replaced her and was confirmed in his post by lawmakers earlier this month. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicle ambitions spark race for raw materials – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – October 23, 2017)

https://www.ft.com/

Manufacturers are scrambling to seal long-term deals for supply of lithium, cobalt and nickel

As carmakers gear up to electrify their fleets, a new scramble for resources is under way to ensure there is enough raw material for a rapid expansion of battery production.

Electric car batteries rely on a host of materials — from lithium to nickel, cobalt and graphite — while some cars also use motors that require rare earths.

Prices have soared rapidly over the past year, with cobalt, a greyish metal mostly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, up more than 190 per cent over the past 18 months. Carmakers and battery producers are rushing to lock in supply agreements from mining companies for the metals as forecasts for consumer uptake of electric vehicles increase and governments launch policies to back a shift away from combustion engines. Continue Reading →