Archive | Nickel

China’s Jinchuan eyes new nickel, cobalt project to tap electric vehicle boom – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – October 20, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

BEIJING (Reuters) – Jinchuan Group [JCHRP.UL], China’s top nickel producer, will next year start building a new project in Guangxi that will produce raw materials for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, its chairman said, looking to tap the sector’s “explosive” demand.

The project, in the southern port city of Fangchenggang, where Jinchuan already smelts copper and nickel, will have annual production of 30,000 tonnes of nickel and 3,000 tonnes of cobalt by 2020, Wang Yongqian said in an emailed Q&A with Reuters.

The company’s three main metals “are all raw materials for electric cars,” Wang said, forecasting “explosive growth” in EVs in China over the next five-10 years. Wang was in Beijing this week to attend the 19th Communist Party congress. Continue Reading →

Updated: Vale lays off 21 in Sudbury – by staff (Sudbury Star – October 19, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Vale continues to cut its Sudbury workforce. United Steelworkers Local president Rick Bertrand confirmed the Brazilian mining giant had laid off 21 people at its Sudbury operations on Thursday morning. The company made an official announcement around noon.

“This past year has been one of transformation in our Ontario operations,” Angie Robson, manager of corporate affairs for Vale’s Ontario operations, said in an emailed statement. “The ramp down of Stobie Mine and the Clarabelle Mill Crushing Plant, the transition to a single furnace and the closure of the copper circuit in our Smelter means that Ontario operations will produce lower volumes than we have in recent years. While we are smaller today, these decisions have set us up to be much more agile and competitive in the years ahead.

“As a result, today, formal layoff notices were given to 21 production and maintenance employees in accordance with our Collective Agreement with USW Local 6500.” Continue Reading →

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The Truth About the Cobalt Crisis: It’s Not a Crisis, Yet – by Jason Deign (Green Tech Media – October 8, 2017)

https://www.greentechmedia.com/

Volkswagen’s failure to secure long-term cobalt supplies has highlighted concerns over one of the most precarious elements in the lithium-ion battery supply chain.

There is sufficient cobalt worldwide to meet foreseeable demand for the mineral, according to Caspar Rawles, an analyst at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. The real question “is whether we can access it quickly enough,” he said.

Volkswagen last month sought to secure a €50 billion ($59 billion) contract to supply enough cobalt for 150 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion battery storage by 2025, which Rawles said could amount to roughly 30,000 tons of the metal a year. Continue Reading →

Electric cars driving BHP’s nickel dream – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – October 18, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

BHP has flagged it could double down on its foray into supplying nickel chemicals to the growing electric vehicle market as it looks to capitalise on the “new energy revolution”.

The head of BHP’s resurgent Nickel West nickel division, Eddy Haegel, told The Australian Nickel Conference in Perth yesterday that the company was looking to bring forward stage two of its proposed nickel sulphate processing plant at its Kwinana refinery after being inundated with inquiries from the world’s biggest battery manufacturers.

He also revealed the company was investigating the economic and technical feasibility of moving even further downstream with the potential development of a cathode precursor plant at Kwinana. “The new energy revolution is coming and it will be very good news for our local nickel industry,” Mr Haegel said. Continue Reading →

As race for energy metals heats up, nickel expected to benefit most from EV revolution – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – October 13, 2017)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Nickel prices stand most to gain from the advent of electric vehicles (EVs), Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) said on Friday in its latest ‘Global Metals Weekly’ report.

According to the research team, despite China remaining an important driver of market demand, following on from being the secular demand driver for metals in the past decade, a push to make economies greener has given rise to structural demand increases from a range of sectors.

“EVs have been a focal point of late and copper (batteries, wiring, charging infrastructure), lithium (batteries), cobalt (batteries) and nickel (batteries) should all benefit. While we are bullish copper in the medium term, EVs are unlikely to be sufficient, on their own, to drive a sustained bull market. Continue Reading →

In Northern Minnesota, Two Economies Square Off: Mining vs. Wilderness – by Reid Forgrave (New York Times – October 12, 2017)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Proposed mines near the Boundary Waters have become the latest front in the fight over who gets to profit from America’s natural resources.

Minnesota is home to some of the world’s most ancient rocks, as old as 3.5 billion years. Earth has been around for only 4.5 billion years. About 2.7 billion years ago, basalt lava flowed underwater near what’s now the state’s border with Canada; the lava hardened, and the creep of geologic time turned it into a bedrock of greenstone and granite.

On top of it, a layer of sedimentary rock rich in iron ore formed nearly two million years ago, when the region was ocean floor. Then a billion years ago, Earth’s crust cracked open, producing a 50-mile-wide fissure stretching from Lake Superior to Kansas. For the next 100 million years, lava bubbled up into what geologists call the Midcontinent Rift, forming a mineral deposit filled with copper and nickel.

Settlers first made their way to the area in 1865 in a fruitless search for gold. What they did find was iron ore, and lots of it. Rails were laid for iron-ore transport, and the town of Ely was founded a few years later, in 1888. Continue Reading →

Talvivaara: Finland’s biggest environmental crime case returns to court (YLE Uutiset – October 9, 2017)

https://yle.fi/

Finland’s most notorious corporate environmental crimes case returned to court on Monday. The founder and owner of the Finnish nickel mine Talvivaara – as well as other leaders of the company – could face massive fines and suspended jail sentences in appeals court.

An environmental crime trial about mining company Talvivaara’s past operations began at the Rovaniemi appeals court on Monday.

Under scrutiny in the trial are the construction and use of Talvivaara’s gypsum waste pond, alleged scheduled and uncontrolled dumping of effluents into nature, as well as issues surrounding the handling and placement of the mine’s various waste components.

Prosecutors claim that Talvivaara bosses committed their first environmental crimes as early as 2004 when the mine was in its planning and building stages. Continue Reading →

[Norilsk Nickel] Russia and Norway make progress on cross-border environmental problems – by Anna Kireeva (Bellona.org – October 9, 2017)

http://bellona.org/

Russian and Norwegian environmentalists and politicians gathering in the industrial town of Nikel to tote up advances in cross-border pollution for once had something positive to report: the joint efforts seems to be working.

The results of Russia’s Year of Ecology are so far mixed, but 2017 marks a quarter century since Russia and Norway started forging an often-brittle bond of environmental cooperation.

The event in Nikel – a company town to the Kola Mining and Metallurgy Company with a history of grievous pollution – was entitled “Days of Russian Norwegian near border cooperation,” and presented a best-foot-forward program that checked off several bilateral success stories. Continue Reading →

Last muck, last hoist, last truck at Vale’s Birchtree Mine – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – October 5, 2017)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

The transition of Birchtree Mine to care and maintenance status, which began in the last few days of September and officially got underway Oct. 2, didn’t affect as many employees as previously estimated and no one will be laid off until the end of the year but the effects will still be felt.

The last day of mucking at Birchtree was Sept. 27 and the last hoist day was Sept. 30, when an event to commemorate the occasion was held for employees, their families and dignitaries such as Mayor Dennis Fenske, Thompson MLA Kelly Bindle, Vale Manitoba Operations vice-president Mark Scott and United Steelworkers Local 6166 president Les Ellsworth, said corporate affairs, organizational design and human resources manager Ryan Land.

The last day of September also saw the ceremonial last truck of ore roll out of the mine and the first care and maintenance shift was Oct. 2. About 60 employees will work on asset recovery until November and the mine will be on care and maintenance as of Dec. 31, after which will it will employ only six workers. Continue Reading →

[Vale and Thompson, Manitoba] The first shoe drops (Thompson Citizen – October 4, 2017)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Thompson inched into a new era Oct. 1 as Birchtree Mine stopped production of nickel ore and began the process of transitioning into care and maintenance status, a position it was previously in from 1978 until it reopened in 1989.

The move affects an estimated 150 jobs within the mine and up to 50 in processing, service and support roles, Vale Manitoba Operations said in May, when the decision to move to care and maintenance was made because it is unprofitable to continue mining at current nickel prices.

At any time, this would have been bad news for Thompson’s economy. While some affected employees may opt for early retirement and stick around and others may find new jobs locally, some will be moving out of town and taking the money that they spent on accommodations and goods and services elsewhere. That will have a trickle-down effect that even people who aren’t employed in anything mining-related will feel. Continue Reading →

Closing Time: Last hoist for Thompson’s Birchtree Mine – by John Barker (Soundings John Barker – September 30, 2017)

https://soundingsjohnbarker.wordpress.com/

On the surface, it was an unseasonably warm and brilliant orange early autumn day. Underground, it was closing time. Not last call, but rather the hard rock mining on-the-job equivalent: last hoist.

This day has almost come for Birchtree Mine in Thompson, Manitoba before. In fact, the day did come for Birchtree for most of a decade in the 1980s, as the mine was on “care and maintenance” because of unfavourable market conditions from December 1977 through 1989.

And on Oct. 18, 2012, Vale had announced care and maintenance was being considered for Birchtree Mine in 10 months time in August 2013. After finding $100 million in cost savings at its Manitoba Operations, bringing its cost per metric tonne for finished nickel to under US$10,000, Birchtree Mine would receive on May 6, 2013 a reprieve that lasted almost 4½ years. Until now. Continue Reading →

Vale eliminates its Ontario boss – by Staff (Sudbury Star – September 30, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Stuart Harshaw is out as head of Vale’s Ontario operations and the position has been eliminated. The company has blamed harsh market conditions for its decision.

“We have had a change in leadership in our Ontario operations,” Vale said in a media statement. “In the current challenging market we are evaluating all aspects of our business and that review includes examining and evolving how our business is structured. At this time, the role of director, Ontario operations has been eliminated.”

Harshaw was head of Ontario operations from January 2016. Before that, he served as VP of marketing and sales for base metals at Vale’s Singapore operations. The company said it is trying to streamline processes. Continue Reading →

Monchegorsk has now the world’s largest nickel refining facility – by Thomas Nilsen (Barents Observer – September 28, 2017)

https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/

Kola GMK has boosted its nickel output by 50% after refining was moved from Norilsk in Siberia.

«A large-scale upgrade is now at full swing,» says Igor Lisitskiy, Deputy CEO for Reconstruction at Kola Mining Metallurgical Combine (Kola GMK) in a press-release.

According to Lisitskiy, the factory in Monchegorsk has become the world’s largest nickel refining facility. «Monchegorsk site produces up 165,000 tons of nickel per year,» he says.

Last winter, the old nickel refining plant in Norilsk on the Taymyr Peninsula was closed down and production moved to the Kola Peninsula. The factory in Monchegorsk now receives nickel matter from both the smelter in Nikel near Russia’s border to Norway and from the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant in Norilsk. Continue Reading →

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

https://www.reuters.com/

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 →

Western Mining solves nickel mystery in Nigeria – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – September 8, 2017)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

A year after revealing a Nigerian nickel discovery that looked too good to be true, former Western Mining Co chief Hugh Morgan believes his team has cracked the technical challenges presented by the mystery mineralisation.

Mr Morgan’s private company Comet Minerals has discovered what looks to be a vast and unique nickel deposit comprising an abundance of balls of almost pure nickel.

When he first unveiled the discovery at last year’s Africa Down Under conference, Mr Morgan was hopeful that separating the balls from the surrounding soil would be a relatively simple process. Continue Reading →