Seeking Alpha

Nickel Monthly News For October 2019

by: Matt Bohlsen
Matt Bohlsen
Investment advisor, portfolio strategy, growth at reasonable price

Nickel spot prices were slightly lower in October, and the LME inventory was significantly lower with nickel levels below 80kt which is at a nine-year low.

Nickel market news - Indonesia suspends nickel ore exports with immediate effect, then later shelves early nickel export ban for tighter inspection. Ban remains due to start Jan. 1, 2020.

Nickel company news - Horizonte Minerals delivers a very strong PFS. Poseidon Nickel restart resource more than doubles to 10,130 tonnes of nickel metal at 9.4% Ni.

Welcome to the nickel miners news for October. The past month saw nickel prices slightly lower. LME inventories fell dramatically to very low levels (below 80kt), and are at a nine-year low. This is approaching the previous nickel low inventory levels that resulted in significant nickel price spikes.

The big news for the month was on October 28 when Indonesia announced that they will be suspending nickel ore exports with immediate effect. This brings forward the export ban from Jan. 1 2020, which was already brought forward two years.

Overall the nickel producers and juniors are doing very well buoyed by stronger nickel prices and rapidly-improving sentiment.

Nickel price news

As of October 25, the nickel spot price was USD 7.66, slightly down from USD 7.80 last month. LME inventories fell dramatically to very low levels (below 80kt). This is approaching the previous nickel low inventory levels that resulted in significant nickel price spikes.

Nickel spot prices - 5-year chart - USD 7.66/lb

5 Year Nickel Prices - Nickel Price Chart


London Metals Exchange [LME] - Nickel inventory plunges

5 Year Nickel LME Warehouse Levels - Nickel Levels Chart


Nickel demand v supply

On October 28 Mining Journal reported:

Nickel to be stand out metal for 2020, LME Week hears. Supply constraints will make nickel the top performing metal next year, despite the bearish pull of a downturn in manufacturing activity, delegates at LME Week heard on Monday.

The chart below shows nickel is forecast to be in deficit after ~2020-2022 (or at least require new supply to come online).

Source: Wood Mackenzie

Note: Some others such as BMI have been forecasting a nickel surplus by 2020 due to increased Indonesian production and reduced Asian demand.

As a reminder the November 2017 McKinsey report stated: "If annual electric vehicle (NYSE:EV) production reaches 31 million vehicles by 2025 as expected then demand for high-purity class 1 nickel is likely to increase significantly from 33 Kt in 2017 to 570 Kt in 2025." That's a 17 fold increase in just eight years, albeit only on Class 1 nickel.

Investors can also read my past article: "Top 5 Nickel Miners To Consider Before The Nickel Boom."

Nickel Market News

On October 8 Mining News reported:

China’s Tsingshan helped drive record drop in nickel inventories. China’s Tsingshan Holding Group Co. was one of the main forces behind a record drawdown in London Metal Exchange nickel inventories last week. The company, the world’s biggest stainless steelmaker, bought the nickel to secure supplies ahead of a looming ban on raw nickel ore exports from Indonesia. While the LME’s warehouse network is designed as a last-resort source for exactly this type of supply crisis, the scale of buying could raise concerns about a potential shortfall if the drawdowns continue. Some traders and consumers have been scrambling to pick up metal since early September, when Indonesia confirmed plans to bring forward its ban. But the move last week was surprisingly sharp — the nearly 25,000 tons that left the warehouses was the biggest decline in the four-decade history of the nickel contract.

LME nickel inventories drop sharply raising further concerns of nickel shortages in 2020

Nickel is flying out of LME warehouses


On October 24 Reuters reported:

Papua New Guinea watchdog confirms MCC Ramu nickel mine closed. Ramu Nickel has been shut down “for not adhering to remedial measures issued 6 weeks ago,” Jerry Garry told Reuters. Media reported the closure was a temporary measure.

On October 28 Bloomberg reported:

Indonesia suspends nickel ore exports with immediate effect. Government, miners agree to stop ore exports immediately. Nickel in London jumps on surprise news of early export halt.

On October 29 Bloomberg reported:

Indonesia shelves early nickel export ban for tighter inspection. Indonesia, one of the world’s top supplier of nickel ore, will allow miners to continue exports until a ban takes effect on Jan. 1 and ordered greater scrutiny of cargoes meant for shipments. Exports will be halted for about two weeks to inspect cargoes as there has been a surge in the line up of shipments....

Nickel Company News



Vale plans a US$1.7B Voisey's Bay expansion plan to boost their nickel production.

On October 2, Vale SA announced: "Vale announces presentation on its main initiatives for the future and informs about estimates updates." Highlights include:

  • EBITDA - "Adjusted EBITDA ranging from US$10.8 billion to US$12.9 billion in 2019."
  • CAPEX - "CAPEX ranging from US$3.6 billion to US$3.8 billion in 2019."
  • Free Cash Flow - "Free Cash Flow ranging from US$6.5 billion and US$9.4 billion in 2019."

On October 24, Vale SA announced:

Vale’s performance in 3Q19. “In the third quarter of 2019, we made progress towards stabilizing our business and advanced with our objective of full reparation of Brumadinho......Nickel operations EBITDA totaled US$ 319 million in 3Q19, US$ 71million higher than in 2Q19, mainly due to higher nickel prices and lower costs, partially offset by lower sales volumes.

Norilsk Nickel (LSX: MNOD) (OTCPK:NILSY)

On September 27 Norilsk Nickel announced: "The first coupon rate for Norilsk Nickel stock bonds is set at 7.20% per annum."

On September 27 Norilsk Nickel announced:

Shareholders of MMC Norilsk Nickel approved the dividend for the first half 2019.....The EGM approved the interim dividend for the first half of 2019 in the amount of RUB 883.93 per ordinary share (approximately USD 13.27 at the RUB/USD exchange rate of the Russian Central Bank as of August 20, 2019, the date when the Board of Directors made a recommendation on the dividend), totaling RUB 139.88 bn (approximately USD 2.1 bn).

On October 3 Norilsk Nickel announced:

Nornickel is about to launch the international and intercultural project FusioNNow in the North of the Arctic Circle. The FusioNNow project goes even further — its goal is not only to introduce international participants to Russia’s far north, but also to create long term relationships and opportunities to exchange experiences and collaborate on joint projects in the Taimyr and Murmansk regions.

Investors can read my article "An Update On Norilsk Nickel."


In 2017 BHP announced a US$43.3m investment in its Nickel West project to enable conversion to nickel sulphate.

On October 17 BHP Group announced:

BHP operational review for the quarter ended 30 September 2019. Nickel West production increased by one per cent to 22kt, reflecting higher volumes at the Kalgoorlie smelter following the fire in September 2018.

Jinchuan Group [HK:2362]

On October 21 Junchuan Group announced:

Operational update for the nine months ended 30 September 2019 and further update on the legal dispute with the non-controlling shareholder of a subsidiary of the group.

Note: There was no mention of nickel, just copper and cobalt.


On October 25 Glencore announced:

Third quarter 2019 production report. Own sourced nickel production of 89,400 tonnes was slightly (2%) lower than the comparable prior period, mainly relating to Koniambo, which experienced a challenging H1 2019 ramp-up period.

On October 25 Glencore announced:

Glencore one of seven mining, metals companies to partner on responsible sourcing with World Economic Forum.

Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. (OTCPK:SMMYY)

No news for the month.

Anglo American [LSX:AAL] (OTCPK:AAUKF)

On October 22 Anglo American announced:

Production report for the third quarter ended 30 September 2019. Nickel production decreased by 2% due to the timing of annual planned maintenance of one of the two lines at the plant. Production guidance is unchanged at 42,000-44,000 tonnes.


You can view a company presentation here.


On October 23 Eramet announced: "Eramet: Sales of €895m in third-quarter 2019, in a mixed price environment." Highlights include:

  • "Q3 2019 sales of €895m, down 6% on Q3 2018, mainly due to an unfavourable price environment in Manganese activity and the impact of bringing quality processes into conformity at Aubert & Duval.
  • New quarterly production records for manganese ore and nickel ore.
  • Mixed price environment in Q3: manganese ore prices down -17% and LME nickel prices up +18%, and before the positive impact of an appreciating US dollar versus the euro.
  • Highly favourable momentum in Nickel activities: Decisive breakthrough in SLN's rescue plan: Compared to the first semester, cash cost down to USD 5.76/lb in Q3 2019, particularly due to the record level of ore export volumes. Sandouville's recovery confirmed: Target to achieve breakeven EBITDA after Q4 maintenance shutdown. Acceleration of Weda Bay Nickel: Construction ahead of schedule with a start-up planned as early as H1 2020, for highly competitive NPI production.
  • 2019 targets confirmed: production of 4.5 Mt of manganese ore, 720kt of mineral sands and exports of 1.5 Mt of nickel ore.
  • Factoring in expected productivity gains in the second half of the year, and with the assumption of market conditions of September 2019, more mixed than at mid year, forecast EBITDA for H2 should be significantly above that of H1, nonetheless leading to full year EBITDA below those of 2018. However, the market and price environment has been particularly volatile in the last weeks."

Sherritt International (OTCPK:SHERF)[TSX:S]

No news for the month.

Independence Group [ASX:IGO] (OTC:IIDDY)

On October 2 Independence Group announced: "West Kimberley exploration update." Highlights include:

  • "Quick Shears Project. 26km2 ground electromagnetic survey completed. 3,016m of reconnaissance Air Core drilling completed.
  • Buxton-IGO West Kimberley Regional Joint Venture. First-ever airborne electromagnetic surveys flown over 1,900km2 of prospective ground; Numerous conductors identified. Ground follow-up commenced, initially at Sentinel (E04/2408). Belt scale airborne magnetics-radiometrics survey commencing soon.
  • Merlin Project. 17km2 ground electromagnetic survey completed."

On October 2 Independence Group announced:

West Kimberley JV Restructure.....Major exploration push by IGO intended to continue on Buxton’s assets at both the Fraser Range and now, West Kimberley, without further expenditure by Buxton.

On October 14 Independence Group announced: "Louisa Nickel Sulphide Project attracts strong partner." Highlights include:

  • "Successful and well-regarded nickel-copper sulphide producer and explorer Independence Group NL to farm into Apollo’s Louisa Project.
  • Exploration to be carried out in conjunction with Independence’s regional nickel-copper sulphide programs in the western Kimberley.
  • Farm in is an endorsement of Apollo’s conceptual targets in an emerging nickel-copper sulphide province."

On October 22 Independence Group announced: "Quarterly report ended 30 September 2019. Strong production and higher metal prices deliver a surge in earnings in the quarter." Highlights include:

  • "Nova quarterly production exceeded pro-rata guidance range for all metals at cash costs of A$2.59 per payable pound, marginally above FY20 guidance range.
  • Tropicana gold production at top-end of guidance range with all-in sustaining costs better than annual guidance range at A$1,066 per ounce.
  • Revenue and other income of A$263M, 29% higher quarter on quarter (QoQ), driven by strong nickel and gold prices for the quarter.
  • Underlying EBITDA improved 64% QoQ to A$154M.
  • Net cash at quarter end of A$264M following A$47M FY19 final dividend, A$29M debt repayment and A$21 of payments for investments and mineral interests.....
  • Tender process for nickel and copper offtake progressed with finalisation imminent."

On October 22 Independence Group announced:

Lake Mackay JV update: New gold prospect identified. Metallurgical samples collected from Grimlock Prospect to test for potential recovery of Ni-Co-Mn mineralisation - results expected this quarter."

Western Areas Ltd. [ASX:WSA](OTCPK:WNARF)

On October 23 Western Areas Ltd. announced: "Activity report for the period ending 30 September 2019. Strong start to FY 2020, Odysseus mine development on track." Highlights include:

  • "Mine production of 5,805 nickel tonnes.
  • Mill production of 5,259 nickel tonnes (FY20 guidance range of 21,000 to 22,000 tonnes for full year).
  • Unit cash cost of nickel in concentrate of A$3.06/lb (FY20 guidance of A$2.90/lb to A$3.30/lb).
  • Nickel sales of 5,051 nickel tonnes.
  • Net cash flow of A$21.6m increased cash at bank to A$165.9m (June quarter A$144.3m).
  • Cash at bank, plus nickel sales receivables, totaled A$207.3m (June quarter A$157.1m).
  • Kidman change of control transaction completed, delivering A$33.1m to Western Areas.
  • Strong progress at the Odysseus underground mine development."

Panoramic Resources [ASX:PAN] (OTCPK:PANRF)

Panoramic's Savannah mine and mill has a forecast life of mine average annual production rate of 10,800t of nickel, 6,100t of copper and 800t of cobalt metal contained in concentrate.

On September 30 Panoramic Resources announced: "Mineral resources and ore reserves at 30 June 2019."

On October 3 Panoramic Resources announced:

Sale of Thunder Bay North Project–Further extension on signing definitive agreement. Panoramic Resources Limited wishes to advise that further to the announcement made by the Company on 3 September 2019, the Company and Benton Resources Inc. of Canada [TSX-V:BEX] (“Benton”) have agreed to extend the time by which a Definitive Agreement needs to be signed, by a further 30 days. The signing of a Definitive Agreement is one of the conditions precedent to the completion of the sale of shares in its 100% subsidiary, PAN PGMs Canada Limited (“Panoramic PGMs”), to Benton for a C$9.0million purchase price, payable in cash by way of installments. Panoramic PGMs is the 100% owner of the Thunder Bay North PGM Project situated in Northern Ontario, Canada.

On October 10 Panoramic Resources announced: "Savannah North drilling and development update......15.10m @ 2.36% Ni, 0.80% Cu and 0.16% Co from 192.3m [KUD1601]......"

On October 23 Panoramic Resources announced: "New managing director and CEO appointed."

Nickel Mines Ltd [ASX:NIC]

No nickel news for the month but you can read the company's latest "Financial report for the year ended 30 June 2019" here.


On October 7 RNC Minerals announced: "Solid Production performance for RNC Minerals September gold production of 8,239 oz."

On October 15 RNC Minerals announced: "RNC Minerals provides production and cost guidance and positive operational update." Q3 2019 gold production was 24,216 Au oz. H2 2019 production guidance is 42,000-49,000 Au oz, at an AISCs of US$1,150-$1,250 per oz.

On October 17 RNC Minerals announced:

Beta Hunt continues to deliver high-grade gold. An estimated 3,200 ounces of coarse gold has been recovered from the 15 Level A Zone approximately 30 metres north of the Father's Day Vein that was uncovered last year (see RNC news release dated September 9, 2018).

Axiom Mining [ASX:AVQ] (OTC:AXNNF)

On September 30, Axiom Mining announced:

Monthly activities report for the period ended 31, August 2019. During the month of August, Axiom mined an additional 4,000 wmt of nickel laterite at San Jorge. Mining activities have now been scaled-down while the company awaits the issue of an export permit. A reduction in operations will significantly reduce costs with activities focused now on sheeting roads and preparing stockpile areas which enable the Company to be in position to scale up operations and export the nickel ore once a permit is granted.

Other nickel producers

Franco/Nevada [TSX:FNV], MMG [HK:1208], South32 [ASX:S32], Lundin Mining [TSX:LUN], Nickel Asia Corporation [PSE:NIKL] (OTC:NIKAY).

Note: First Quantum Minerals [TSX:FM] (OTCPK:FQVLF) plans to restart their Ravensthorpe nickel mine in early 2020.

Nickel juniors

Amur Minerals Corp. [LSE:AMC] [GR:A7L] (OTCPK:AMMCF)

On September 30 Amur Minerals Corp. announced: "Interim results 2019." Highlights included a review of their February 2019 PFS shown below.

PFS Highlights (Kun-Manie Nickel-Copper Project)

  • "JORC Mineral Resource Estimate of 155.1 million ore tonnes....Nickel equivalent grade of 1.02% equating to 1.58 million equivalent tonnes of nickel metal.
  • Production from 4 open pits and 1 underground operation.
  • 2 production scenarios–toll smelt and low-grade matte.
  • Using $8 per pound nickel and 10% discount rate. Toll smelt–NPV US$614.5 million, IRR 29.3%. Low-grade matte–NPV US$987.4 million, IRR 34.7%."

Poseidon Nickel [ASX:POS] (OTC:PSDNF)

On October 14 Poseidon Nickel announced: Black Swan underground RC drilling first assay results." Highlights include:

  • "Successful completion of first eight holes of 2,500m underground RC drilling program complete (1,326m).
  • Disseminated mineralisation encountered in all eight RC drill holes, confirms continuity at depth in both grade and scale.
  • Significant true widths intersected include: 45m @ 0.77% Ni, True width=37m including 12m @ 1.16% Ni [PBSC004]......
  • Drill and sampling technique reduces “nugget effect” in assay results with novel “up‐hole” survey technique also successful.
  • Second round of underground RC drilling commenced further supporting the restart plan for mining operations at Black Swan."

On October 28 Poseidon Nickel announced: "Quarterly report to 30 September 2019." Highlights include:

Silver Swan Resource Upgrade

  • "JORC 2012 INDICATED Restart Resource more than doubled to 10,130 tonnes of nickel metal at a grade of 9.4% Ni.
  • JORC 2012 Indicated + Inferred Resource increased 30% to 16,030 tonnes of nickel metal at a grade of 9.5% Ni.
  • Life of Mine [LOM] schedule set to increase based upon the 30% growth in the Indicated Resource, higher grade and increased continuity of massive sulphide mineralisation......
  • Strong nickel price growth over the September quarter continue to support the restart plan for nickel mining operations at Silver Swan and Black Swan."

Garibaldi Resources [TSXV:GGI] [GR:RQM] [LN:OUX6] (OTC:GGIFF)

On September 27 Garibaldi Resources announced: "Garibaldi expands drilling (at Nickel Mountain), adds another $2.25 million from warrant exercise."

Cassini Resources [ASX:CZI]

On October 28 Cassini Resources announced: "Activities report for the quarter ended 30 September 2019." Highlights include:


  • "Strengthened relationship with strategic partner and shareholder, Tinci Materials."

West Musgrave Project

  • "Pre-Feasibility Study extended to include detailed evaluation of numerous potential value-add opportunities.
  • Further evaluation of opportunities to include: New comminution and float cell technologies. Remote Operations Centre and workforce−Renewable power opportunities and potential partners. Updated Resource and Reserve to inform mine design and schedule.
  • PFS delivery in early 2020."

St. George Mining Ltd [ASX:SGO] [GR:SOG]

The Cathedrals, Stricklands and Investigators nickel-copper discoveries (at Mt Alexander) are located on E29/638, which is held in joint venture by Western Areas Limited (25%) and St George (75%). St. George is the Manager of the Project with Western Areas retaining a 25% non-contributing interest in the Project (in regard to E29/638 only) until there is a decision to mine.

On October 4 St. George Mining announced: "Deep drilling confirms continuity of mineralised ultramafics down-plunge on Cathedrals Belt."

On October 9 St. George Mining announced:

Assays confirm high-grade nickel-copper sulphide discovery. MAD152, the first drill hole at the Radar Prospect, has returned assays that confirm a significant shallow discovery of nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation: 6m @ 2.14%Ni, 0. 74%Cu and 1.62g/t PGEs from 46m including 2.55m @ 4.29%Ni, 1. 46%Cu and 3g/t PGEs from 49.05m.....Scoping studies initiated to assess a potential mining proposal at Mt Alexander....Environmental base line studies underway.

On October 21 St. George Mining announced:

More thick intersections significantly extend high-grade nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation at Mt Alexander. 18m thick ultramafic intersected at Investigators East – including 7m of nickel-copper sulphide – from 91.9m downhole in drill hole MAD166 comprising.

On October 24 St. George Mining announced:

St. George boosts funding for high‐grade nickel‐copper sulphide exploration at Mt Alexander.....$5.7million in new funding secured through an institutional‐led placement.

On October 29 St George Mining announced: "More strong results from step-out drilling at Mt Alexander."

Sama Resources [TSXV: SME] [GR;8RS] (OTCPK:SAMMF)

No news for the month.

Horizonte Minerals [LN: HZN]

On October 17 Horizonte Minerals announced: "Vermelho Pre-Feasibility Study returns NPV of US$1.7 billion and confirms low cost, long life nickel sulphate project." Highlights include:"

  • "The Study confirms Vermelho as a large, high-grade resource, with a long mine life and low-cost source of nickel sulphate for the battery industry.
  • The compelling economic and technical results from the study support further development of the project towards a full Feasibility Study.
  • A 38-year mine life estimated to generate total cash flows after taxation of US$7.3billion [1].
  • An estimated Base Case post-tax Net Present Value1 (‘NPV’) of US$1.7 billion [2] and Internal Rate of Return (‘IRR’) of 26%.
  • At full production capacity the Project is expected to produce an average of 25,000 tonnes of nickel and 1,250 tonnes of cobalt per annum utilising the High-Pressure Acid Leach process.
  • The base case PFS economics assume a flat nickel price of US$16,400 per tonne (‘/t’) for the 38-year mine life.
  • C1 (Brook Hunt) cash cost of US$8,020/t Ni (US$3.64/lb Ni), defines Vermelho as a low-cost producer.
  • Initial Capital Cost estimate is US$652 million (AACE class 4), including US$97.7 million of contingencies (equating to approximately 18% of capital)."

PFS summary for Vermelho


On October 21 Horizonte Minerals announced: "Drawdown of US$25 million royalty funding from Orion Mine finance."

Neometals [ASX:NMT]

On October 9 Neometals announced:

Further nickel drill results at Mt Edwards. High grade nickel sulphide assay results from drilling at the recently acquired Munda deposit in Western Australia. Drill results include 8.3 metres @ 2.16% nickel including 2.3m @ 6.11% nickel.

Massive Nickel Sulphide (grading 6.11% nickel) is clearly identifiable above a sharp contact with the underlying basalt


North American Nickel [TSXV:NAN]

On October 2 North American Nickel announced:

North American nickel announces share consolidation. North American Nickel Inc. announces that its Board of Directors has approved a consolidation (the "Consolidation") of the Company's issued and outstanding common shares (the "Common Shares") on the basis of ten [10] pre-consolidation shares for one (1) post-consolidated share.

Cobalt27 Capital Corp. [TSXV:KBLT] [GR:27O][LN:OUPZ] (OTC:CBLLF)

Cobalt27 is a listed investment company that offers unique exposure to a portfolio of cobalt and nickel assets - Cobalt metal, cobalt royalties and direct cobalt/nickel properties, and one lithium royalty. Cobalt27 owns 2,905.7 tonnes of cobalt.

On October 1 Cobalt27 Capital Corp. announced: "Pala investments and Cobalt 27 announce significant improvements to arrangement transaction and new shareholders meeting date of October 11, 2019." Highlights include:

  • "Cash portion of acquisition price increased to C$4.00 per share from C$3.57 per share, representing an additional C$30 million of cash consideration.
  • Pala confirms these improved terms are its best and final offer.
  • Cash change of control payments reduced by 46%.
  • Termination fee in the event of a superior proposal reduced by 50%.
  • Continued repayment of Cobalt 27 net debt by Pala, leaving Nickel 28 without corporate debt and funded with US$5 million in cash.
  • Shareholders meeting will now take place on October 11, 2019."

On October 24 Cobalt27 Capital Corp. announced:

Cobalt 27 provides updates on the closing of the plan of arrangement with Pala Investments, the creation of Conic Metals and Developments related to the Ramu Mine. The Arrangement provides for the acquisition by Pala of 100% of Cobalt 27’s issued and outstanding common shares (other than the approximately 19% that Pala already owned), and the creation of a new company, Nickel 28 Capital Corp., that has been renamed as Conic Metals Corp. (“Conic”).

On October 25 Cobalt27 Capital Corp. announced:

Cobalt 27 and Pala Investments announce completion of arrangement. Cobalt 27 Capital Corp. and Pala Investments Limited (“Pala”) are pleased to announce the completion of the previously-announced plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia) (“Arrangement”).....The Arrangement was approved by Cobalt 27’s shareholders at an annual general and special meeting held on October 11, 2019, and by the Supreme Court of British Columbia on October 16, 2019. Under the terms of the Arrangement, each Cobalt 27 common share held was exchanged for C$4.00 in cash and one common share of Conic.

Other juniors

Ardea Resources [ASX:ARL] (OTCPK:ARRRF), Artemis Resources [ASV:ARV], Australian Mines [ASX:AUZ], Cassini Resources [ASX: CZI] (OTC:CSSQF), Clean TeQ [ASX:CLQ] [TSX:CLQ] (OTCQX:CTEQF), Giga Metals [TSXV:GIGA], Grid Metals Corp [TSXV:GRDM, New Age Metals [TXV:NAM], Nickel Creek Platinum [TSX:NCP] (OTCQX:NCPCF), Pancontinental Resources Corporation [TSXV:PUC], Polymet Mining [TSX:POM], S2 Resources (ASX:S2R), Transition Metals [TSXV:XTM], and Wall Bridge Mining [TSX:WM].

Note: Some of the above companies are covered in the Cobalt monthly news.


Nickel spot prices fell slightly in October despite the LME nickel inventory falling dramatically and now sitting at nine-year lows.

Highlights for the month were:

  • "Nickel to be stand out metal for 2020, LME Week hears. Supply constraints will make nickel the top performing metal next year."
  • Indonesia suspends nickel ore exports with immediate effect, then later shelves early nickel export ban for tighter inspection.
  • China’s Tsingshan helped drive record drop in nickel inventories. The LME fell nearly 25,000 tons which was the biggest decline in the four-decade history of the nickel contract.
  • Papua New Guinea watchdog confirms MCC Ramu nickel mine closed.
  • Nickel producers (BHP, Glencore, Anglo American) nickel production mostly flat so far in 2019.
  • Eramet - Weda Bay Nickel: Construction ahead of schedule with a start-up planned as early as H1 2020, for highly competitive NPI production.
  • Independence Group announces a strong Q3, 2019. Revenue and other income of A$263M, 29% higher Quarter on quarter [QoQ], driven by strong nickel and gold prices...Underlying EBITDA improved 64% QoQ to A$154M.
  • Western Areas - Strong start to FY 2020, Odysseus mine development on track. Mine produces 5,805 nickel tonnes for Q3, 2019.
  • Axiom Mining - Mining activities have now been scaled-down while the company awaits the issue of an export permit.
  • Poseidon Nickel - JORC 2012 INDICATED Restart Resource more than doubled to 10,130 tonnes of nickel metal at a grade of 9.4% Ni.
  • St. George Mining Mt Alexander - Assays confirm high-grade nickel-copper sulphide discovery. 6m @ 2.14%Ni, 0. 74%Cu and 1.62g/t PGEs from 46m.
  • Horizonte Minerals - Vermelho PFS returns post tax NPV8% of US$1.7 billion, IRR of 26%. Initial CapEx US$652 million.
  • Neometals Mt. Edwards - Drill results include 8.3 metres @ 2.16% nickel including 2.3m @ 6.11% nickel.
  • Cobalt 27 and Pala Investments announce completion of arrangement.

As usual all comments are welcome.

Disclosure: I am/we are long NORILSK NICKEL [LSE:MNOD], GLENCORE [LSX:GLEN], RNC MINERALS [TSX:RNX], AXIOM MINING (ASX:AVQ), ARDEA RESOURCES [ASX:ARL], AUSTRALIAN MINES [ASX:AUZ], POSEIDON NICKEL [ASX:POS], AMUR MINERALS [LN:AMC]. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: The information in this article is general in nature and should not be relied upon as personal financial advice.