Archive | Nickel Laterites

Nickel falls toward 1-month lows on fund selling – by Pratima Desai (Reuters U.S. – September 19, 2017)

LONDON (Reuters) – Nickel prices fell on Tuesday toward the one-month lows hit last week as funds took profits, but concern about supplies from the Philippines and healthy demand, particularly from Chinese stainless steel mills, are expected to lend support.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange ended down 0.8 percent at $11,140 a tonne from an earlier $10,875. Last week it touched $10,845, its lowest since Aug. 18.

“Nickel rose about 40 percent between July and early September, overshooting to above $12,000. Speculators are selling,” said Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar. “We estimate marginal production costs at around $10,400/$10,500, that will be an anchor for the downside. Demand from stainless and non-stainless applications is healthy.” Continue Reading →

Canada’s Sherritt eyes nickel products for booming battery market – by Nicole Mordant (Reuters Canada – September 11, 2017)

(Reuters) – The rise of electric cars is spurring Sherritt International Corp (S.TO) to consider branching into producing the types of nickel most sought after by battery manufacturers, the chief executive of the Canadian company said on Monday.

David Pathe said Sherritt, which is one of the world’s largest producers of nickel, was studying the economics around building a plant to produce nickel sulphate, a powder-like substance particularly suited for use in batteries.

Sherritt already produces high-grade nickel for use in the stainless steel industry and in sophisticated applications including batteries. The company does not produce nickel sulphate, which consistently fetches a price premium over London Metal Exchange-traded nickel. Continue Reading →

Protesters storm Philippines mining event, demand halt to extraction – by Enrico Dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – September 6, 2017)

MANILA (Reuters) – Around 300 protesters clashed with security on Wednesday at a Manila hotel where an annual mining conference was being held, demanding that mineral extraction be halted due to the environmental destruction caused.

The rally comes a day after President Rodrigo Duterte declared he’s supporting a ban on open-pit mining in the Southeast Asian nation, a move that could constrict supply from the world’s top nickel ore exporter.

“Words are not enough, he must act on it,” lawyer Aaron Pedrosa of Sanlakas (One Force), an activist political group that was among the protesters, told reporters. “We are here to express our opposition to mining in our country and the failure of mining companies to rehabilitate mining areas,” Pedrosa said. Continue Reading →

The battery revolution: balancing progress with supply chain risks (RCS Global – August 2017)


For the full report:

The lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is set to fuel a revolution in electric vehicles (EV), home energy storage and even the powering of entire cities. Yet, increasing demand for the Li-ion battery is revealing and amplifying a wide spectrum of risks associated with the materials that make up the battery itself.

As new battery technology transforms consumer markets, there is a growing realisation that the transition to electric is not without social and environmental impact in the countries where battery materials – specifically cobalt, lithium, nickel, graphite and manganese – are mined and chemically processed into battery grade materials.

These risks present significant reputational, legal, compliance and commercial concerns for major industries harnessing the battery revolution including automotive, electronics and utilities infrastructure. For local communities, the risks represent impacts that could exacerbate or even cause environmental and social problems ranging from air pollution to child labour to conflict. Continue Reading →

Ban on mineral ore export may backfire, mining stakeholders warn – by Louise Maureen Simeon (Philippine Star – September 5, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines — A planned ban on the export of mineral ores may hit the country’s economy and will likely risk its reputation in global markets, mining stakeholders warned. While the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) is all for the domestic processing of minerals, it maintained that a total ban on exports will not work for the country.

Citing Indonesia, which instituted an export ban in 2014, as an example, COMP executive director Ronald Recidoro said the move may not be applicable to the Philippines and may even backfire.

“Indonesia saw that the experiment did not work and it is now creating havoc within their economy. And we do not want to go through that,” Recidoro said during the opening day of the Mining Conference Philippines 2017 on Tuesday. Continue Reading →

Philippines’ Duterte wants to keep open-pit mining ban – by Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – September 5, 2017)

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday he agreed with banning open-pit mining in the world’s top nickel ore exporter given the environmental damage it causes but would give mining firms time to find other ways to extract minerals.

Duterte said in a televised speech that the extraction process was a “dangerous environmental activity” and that he had asked Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu “to look into the eventual closure of open-pit mining”.

“I agree with (former Environment Secretary) Gina Lopez that that has to stop some time. But I’ll give the mining companies enough elbow room … for eventual change in the modality of getting what’s inside the bowels of the earth,” Duterte said. Continue Reading →

Rise of copper and nickel has miners reaching for shelved plans – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – September 5, 2017)

The resurgence in nickel and copper prices to their highest levels in years has become the latest boon for Australia’s resources sector, boosting profit margins for miners and prompting others to consider dusting off old mines and forgotten exploration projects.

Nickel, which has for so long had been the exception to the broader post-downturn recovery in metals prices, this week touched its highest level in two years while the copper price has climbed to heights not seen since 2014.

The price of both metals has been helped along by a combination of a weaker US dollar, supply outages and healthy demand, as well as longer-term expectations of a substantial boost in demand from the rapidly expanding electric vehicles market. Continue Reading →

Nickel Prices Leap to Highest Level in Over Two Years – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – September 3, 2017)

Nickel climbed to a two-year high and copper extended gains to the highest since September 2014 as bets on tighter markets, especially in top user China, buoyed metals after their longest run of weekly gains in a decade.

Nickel advanced as much as 2.9 percent to $12,380 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, its highest since June 2015. Copper climbed as much as 1.3 percent to $6,924 a ton. Most metals rose after the LME Index of six contracts capped an eight-week advance on Friday — one short of a record run in 2006.

Industrial metals have been lifted by sustained demand growth and restrained supply. In China, environmental inspections and planned anti-pollution curbs on steel and aluminum have also stoked expectations of shortages. Gains are also being fueled by a weaker dollar and a super-charged steel market in China that’s steering sentiment for other commodities. Continue Reading →

BHP Billiton still plans to ‘ultimately’ sell its nickel division – by Marcus Leroux (The Australian – August 29, 2017)

BHP Billiton intends to sell its nickel division despite its decision to invest $US43 million in boosting its capacity to meet demand created by the boom in electric vehicles.

In revealing that in the long term it will probably sell Nickel West, which operates in Western Australia, BHP is signalling that it is content to rely on its copper business for giving exposure to the increased demand for the materials that make batteries for green technologies such as electric vehicles.

BHP appears to be taking a more sober view of the looming battery rush than many of its rivals. Nickel West was stranded as an orphan asset after it was not included in BHP’s spin-off of South32. However, the company subsequently committed to it by boosting its processing capacity to meet the anticipated demand from the take-up of electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

Philippine lawmakers seek to ban mining in watershed areas, export of raw ore – by Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – August 25, 2017)

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine lawmakers have filed a bill seeking to ban mining in watershed areas and exports of unprocessed ores and will require miners to get legislative approval before operating, in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pledge to overhaul the sector.

The Philippines is the world’s top nickel ore supplier but Duterte says miners pay too little tax and not enough to compensate mining communities that suffer environmental damage.

“The challenge for government is to ensure proceeds translate into sustainable development, environmental protection, and greater transparency and accountability in the mining industry,” according to the bill authored by 22 congressmen led by Pantaleon Alvarez, the speaker of the House of Representatives and a strong ally of Duterte. Continue Reading →

Nickel mining: the hidden environmental cost of electric cars – by Max Opray (The Guardian – August 24, 2017)

The extraction of nickel, mainly mined in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Russia and the Philippines, comes with environmental and health costs

As countries the world over legislate to phase out petrol and diesel cars, attention is turning to the environmental impact of mining the materials needed for electric vehicle batteries.

This additional scrutiny has largely focused on ethical concerns with cobalt and lithium supply chains, despite Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s observation last year that the lithium ion batteries his vehicles use are mostly made of nickel and graphite, with lithium itself merely “the salt on the salad”.

But the extraction of nickel – predominately mined in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Russia and the Philippines – comes at an environmental and health cost. Continue Reading →

Glencore turns bigger copper, zinc price bull: Nickel not so much – by Frik Els ( – August 10, 2017)

Miner and commodities trader Glencore (LON:GLEN) raised its revenue and profit outlook for the year on Thursday with the Swiss company citing the fast-growing electric vehicle market as a key driver.

“Most automotive players are now accelerating investment in/adoption of electric vehicle technologies, reflecting, in part, increasingly aggressive Government mandates around emission targets.

Growth in electric vehicle/energy storage systems requires changes in material flows, including the installation, rebuild and replacement of supporting infrastructure. Based on current and emerging technologies, these changes should benefit enabling commodities such as copper, cobalt and nickel,” Glencore said in a statement accompanying its half-year results. Continue Reading →

Ravensthorpe nickel mine to close due to low market prices, 270 jobs impacted – by Jarrod Lucas and Jacob Kagi (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – August 9, 2017)

Canadian mining giant First Quantum Minerals has announced it will mothball its Ravensthorpe nickel operations in WA’s south-east from early next month because of low nickel prices. The Toronto-based company employs about 270 people at the Ravensthorpe mine and the closure will hit the community hard only months after devastating floods ripped through the region.

First Quantum said it would cost about $10 million to enter care and maintenance, which should be in effect by early October. The annual bill of maintaining the site is estimated at $5 million. In a statement, First Quantum’s chief executive Philip Pascall described the decision as “disappointing”.

“Ravensthorpe is an excellent operation with an outstanding workforce and supportive community but the continuing depressed nickel market conditions, over some years, leaves us no option,” he said. Continue Reading →

Sprott Conference: Friedland pitches metals used in electric vehicles – by Lesley Stokes (Northern Miner – August 8, 2017)

Global mining news

VANCOUVER — The electric car revolution is accelerating, and so will the demand for metals that make them work, Robert Friedland, executive chairman of Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN; US-OTC: IVPAF) said during a presentation at the Sprott Natural Resource Symposium in Vancouver in late July.

In what has become a recurring topic in his presentations, Friedland stated that continued rapid urbanization, combined with efforts to fight air pollution, will lead to the ramping up of electric vehicle production. And the demand for the metals needed to build them — including copper, platinum, palladium, zinc, nickel and cobalt — will rise as a result.

“This is an era of unprecedented change, it’s really happening,” Friedland said. “The handwriting is on the wall. For those of you who deny this phenomenon, you’re going to miss this massive disruption opening soon at a theatre near you.” Continue Reading →

New Caledonia’s nickel sector shaken up (Radio New Zealand – August 8, 2017)

Unions in New Caledonia fear that the Vale nickel plant could close within half a year and trigger the biggest wave of job losses the territory has ever seen. “That’s 5,000 employees and that means 10,000 people who need to be fed”, a unionist Pascal Pujapujane told New Caledonia’s television station after the latest briefing by the Vale leadership.

What sent the alarm bells ringing was the announcement by Vale’s new CEO Fabio Schvartsman in Brazil last month that it was reviewing its loss-making operation in New Caledonia. The timeline for a decision is not clear but reports suggest the Vale board may move as soon as this month.

Returning from Brazil, the head of Vale New Caledonia Daryush Khoshneviss met union representatives who had different interpretations of the message from headquarters. Vale runs a global network of mines and mining-related businesses which make it the world’s top iron producer. Continue Reading →