- Nickel spot prices were down slightly in February, and the LME inventory rose.
- Nickel market news - Nornickel - Coronavirus to hit nickel and copper markets, at least in Q1, 2020.
- Nickel company news - Positive PFS from Cassini Resources/Oz Minerals. Outstanding drill results from Garibaldi Resources and Neometals. Canada Nickel begins trading on the TSXV.
- I do much more than just articles at Trend Investing: Members get access to model portfolios, regular updates, a chat room, and more. Get started today »
Welcome to the nickel miners news for February. The past month saw nickel prices slightly lower and a busy month of news including the nickel majors reporting 2019 nickel production results and 2020 guidance.
Nickel price news
As of February 28, the nickel spot price was USD 5.57, down slightly from USD 5.78 last month. Nickel inventory at the London Metals Exchange [LME] rose last month from 194,526 tonnes to 229,860 tonnes.
Nickel spot prices - 5-year chart - USD 5.57/lb
Nickel demand v supply
The chart below shows nickel is forecast to be in deficit after ~2020-2022 (note it is a bit outdated now).
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 [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."
Note: That is a 17 fold increase in just 8 years, albeit only on Class 1 nickel.
Nickel demand from EVs set to surge 5x from 2020 to 2025
Investors can also read my past article: "Top 5 Nickel Miners To Consider Before The Nickel Boom."
Nickel Market News
On February 25 Investing News reported:
Indonesia: Coronavirus will delay US$11 billion in projects. “It will have impacts on the projects and in turn affect exports that should have started this year … some of them will be delayed by months.”
On February 27 Mining Technology reported:
Coronavirus to hit Nornickel’s nickel and copper markets. Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) has announced that the recent outbreak of coronavirus in China is expected to hit two of its key markets, nickel and copper. The company noted that the virus poses a downside risk for the pace of demand recovery and undermines its demand assumptions, particularly in the first quarter of this year. Nornickel said in a statement: “At the moment, due to large uncertainty about the duration and the ultimate health impact of the epidemic, we cannot quantify its impact on copper demand and supply, neither can time the market recovery. “If the virus is contained by the end of this March, we find it reasonable to assume that the consumption losses could be recovered during the rest of this year, given that China has plenty of spare capacities across all copper-consuming value chain.”
Nickel Company News
Vale SA (NYSE:VALE)
Vale plans a US$1.7B Voisey's Bay expansion plan to boost their nickel production.
On February 11, Vale SA announced:
Vale’s production and sales in 4Q19 and 2019. Production of finished nickel reached 208 kt in 2019, in line with the annual guidance of 210–220 kt, and 15.0% lower than 2018. Production reflected lower feed from third parties, lower source ore from Thompson and VNC, the latter due to limited availability of process plant operational assets during the year, as well as lower production from Onça Puma prior to receiving judicial authorisation to resume both mine and processing activities in September.....
On February 11, Vale SA announced:
Vale informs on estimates update. Vale S.A. [VALE], informs that it has updated the following estimates: [I] iron ore fines production between 63 and 68 Mt in 1Q20, [II] pellets production of 44 Mt in 2020, [III] nickel production between 200,000 and 210,000 t in 2020, [iv] coal production between 8 and 10 Mt in 2020.....
On February 20, Vale SA announced: "Vale’s performance in 2019 and 4Q19." Highlights include:
- In 2019, proforma EBITDA, excluding the provisions and incurred expenses related to Brumadinho, totaled US$ 17.987 billion, US$ 1.394 billion higher than in 2018, mainly due to higher prices (US$ 5.991 billion) and favorable foreign exchange variations (US$ 571 million), which were partially offset by lower volumes (US$ 2.796 billion), higher costs, expenses and others (US$ 1.404 billion) and the stoppage expenses and others due to Brumadinho (US$ 968 million).
- Vale generated US$ 8.105 billion in Free Cash Flow from Operations in 2019, enabling: the repurchase of US$ 2.270 billion of bonds, with gross debt totaling US$ 13.056 billion in 4Q19, a decrease of US$ 2.410 billion in relation to 4Q18; the increase in cash and cash equivalents to US$ 8.176 billion, US$ 2.452 billion higher than 4Q18, and the decrease in net debt to US$ 4.880 billion, US$ 4.770 billion lower than 4Q18 and the lowest level since 2008; the redemption and cancelation of MBR preferred shares, which paid dividends to non-controlling interest of US$ 162 million and US$ 168 million in 2019 and 2018, reducing future cash-flow commitments.....
- Nickel operations are progressing towards higher reliability with production at the refineries going back to regular operating rates after the scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activities at the Copper Cliff Nickel Refinery, in Sudbury, and at the Clydach, Matsusaka and Long Harbour refineries. Likewise, production at Onça Puma mine and plant was resumed after a judicial authorization granted in September....."
On January 31, Norilsk Nickel announced:
Nornickel announces preliminary consolidated production results for FY2019 and reiterates production outlook for 2020. In 2019, the Company increased the output of all key metals as a result of improved operating efficiency, optimization of production flow and ongoing ramp-up of Bystrinsky project. Total nickel output increased 5% year-on-year to 229kt owing to the ramp-up of the refining shop operating new chlorine leaching technology and expansion of carbonyl nickel production capacity at Kola MMC.
On February 19, Norilsk Nickel announced:
New brand of Nornickel’s nickel cathodes now featured on SHFE. Nornickel is pleased to announce that its full plate nickel cathodes produced under the brand name NORNICKEL have been registered by the Shanghai Futures Exchange [SHFE], the leading metals trading platform in China and Asia. Nornickel believes this to be an endorsement for quality and wide adoption of Nornickel’s metal as a standard in full plate nickel. The newly approved brand, produced by JSC Kola MMC, a wholly owned subsidiary of PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel in the Kola Peninsula in Russia’s far northwest, replaces NORILSK COMBINE H-1 brand, whose SHFE registration has been cancelled.
On February 25, Norilsk Nickel announced: "Nornickel signed a syndicated loan facility agreement for up to USD 4,150 million."
On February 26, Norilsk Nickel announced: "Nornickel reports full year 2019 audited consolidated IFRS financial results." Highlights include:
- "Consolidated revenue increased 16% y-o-y to USD 13.6 billion owing to higher production volumes of all key metals and growth of palladium and nickel prices.
- EBITDA expanded 27% y-o-y to USD 7.9 billion owing to higher metal revenue and tight control of operating expenses, with EBITDA margin reaching 58%. Reported EBITDA includes negative impact of the USD 190 million provisions accrued in respect of the upcoming shutdown of certain production facilities at Kola Division.
- EBITDA generated by the Bystrinsky project that was fully commissioned in September 2019 amounted to USD 349 million.
- CAPEX decreased 15% y-o-y to USD 1.3 billion owing to the completion of large investment projects in 2018.
- The Company made final investment decisions on strategic growth projects such as the expansion of the Talnakh concentrator (TOF-3 project) and the development of South Cluster mining project and also updated its environmental programme, which is scheduled to go into active construction phase in 1H2020.
- Net working capital increased to USD 1.0 billion in line with the medium-term target level.
- Free cash flow amounted to USD 4.9 billion, almost unchanged y-o-y.
- Net debt/EBITDA ratio decreased to 0.9x as of December 31, 2019.
- Cash interest paid decreased 17% y-o-y to USD 460 million owing to the ongoing optimization of debt portfolio...."
Investors can read my article "An Update On Norilsk Nickel."
BHP Group [ASX:BHP] (NYSE:BHP)
In 2017 BHP announced a US$43.3m investment in its Nickel West project to enable conversion to nickel sulphate.
On February 18, BHP Group announced:
BHP Results for the half year ended 31 December 2019. BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry: “We delivered a strong set of half-year results, grounded in solid operational performance. Underlying EBITDA was up 15 percent, to US$12 billion, and return on capital employed increased, to 19 percent. With solid cashflow, the Board announced an interim dividend of 65 US cents per share, our second highest on record.
Jinchuan Group [HK:2362]
No Nickel related news for the month.
On February 4, Glencore announced: "Full year 2019 production report." Highlights include:
- "Own sourced nickel production of 120,600 tonnes was 3,200 tonnes (3%) lower than in 2018, mainly reflecting a number of maintenance stoppages at Koniambo, including a crane failure in December 2019...."
On February 18, Glencore announced: "Preliminary results 2019." Highlights include:
Healthy cash generation despite significantly lower commodity prices
- "2019 Adjusted EBITDA of $11.6 billion, down 26%.
- Net loss attributable to equity holders of $0.4 billion, after $2.8 billion of impairment charges.
- Cash generated by operating activities before working capital changes of $10.3 billion, down 22%.
- Net capex cash flow of $5 billion."
Solid margin and cost performance for our key commodities
- "Impact of lower prices on EBITDA margins somewhat moderated by solid cost control performance in our key commodities....
- Full year unit cost performance in our key commodities: copper (ex African copper) 81c/lb, zinc 13c/lb (47c/lb ex-gold), nickel (ex Koniambo) 277c/lb and thermal coal $45/t ($26/t margin)."
Marketing underpinned by oil’s performance
- "Marketing Adjusted EBIT of $2.4 billion, down 2% year-on-year. Strong second half metals’ performance and robust oil results largely offset the cobalt headwinds experienced in the first half."
Balance sheet / cash flow coverage in good shape
- "Available committed liquidity of $10.1 billion; bond maturities capped around $3 billion in any given year.
- Net debt of $17.6 billion, after $1.25 billion of IFRS 16 related lease liabilities......
- Recommended 2020 base distribution of $0.20 per share ($2.6 billion), payable in two equal installments."
On February 18, Glencore announced: "Glencore’s commitment to the transition to a low-carbon economy."
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. (OTCPK:SMMYY)
No significant news for the month.
Anglo American [LSX:AAL] (OTCPK:AAUKF)
On February 20, Anglo American announced: "Anglo American Platinum announces appointment of Natascha Viljoen as CEO."
On February 20, Anglo American announced:
Anglo American preliminary results 2019. Continuing delivery underpins 9% increase in underlying EBITDA to $10.0 billion.. ..."The result is founded on high quality, low cost, world class assets. We have also benefited from product and market diversification, with strong precious metals and iron ore prices offsetting weakness in diamonds and coal, generating a 9% increase in underlying EBITDA to $10.0 billion, a 19% ROCE and a Total Shareholder Return of 31% for the year."
You can view a company presentation here.
On February 14, Eramet announced: "Appointment of Colin McGibbon as CEO of SLN."
On February 19, Eramet announced: "Eramet: EBITDA at €630m in 2019, reflecting good operating performance, in a deteriorated manganese price environment." Highlights include:
- "Sales down 4% in 2019 financial year at €3,671m in a contrasted price environment: sharp decline in manganese ore prices by -21% on average over the year and rise in nickel prices at the LME of +6%.
- New operational records for the Mining and Metals division, above targets set for 2019: Nickel ore exports: 1.6 Mwmt vs. target at 1.5 Mwmt.
- EBITDA at €630m, in line with guidance, including mainly an unfavourable impact of -€268m due to manganese prices versus 2018.
- Non-recurring items in the High Performance Alloys division (-€114m) and high tax charges in Gabon, resulting in positive income before taxes of €89m and a negative net income, Group share of -€184m.
- Net debt of €1,207m excluding the impact of IFRS 16 (€1,304m published) corresponding to a gearing of 74% excluding the impact of IFRS 16. Measures launched to preserve the Group’s cash position."
Sherritt International (OTCPK:SHERF)[TSX:S]
On February 26, Sherritt International announced:
Sherritt announces transaction to improve its capital structure....The Transaction, described in further detail below, would reduce Sherritt’s total outstanding principal debt obligations by approximately $414 million and reduce annual cash interest payments by approximately $19 million.
On February 26, Sherritt International announced: "Strong operational performance drives Sherritt’s q4 2019 results." Highlights include:
Summary of key q4 developments
- "Sherritt’s share of finished nickel and cobalt production at the Moa Venture (Moa JV) in Q4 2019 were 4,049 tonnes and 411 tonnes, respectively......
- Excluding $79.8 million of cash and cash equivalents held by Energas, Sherritt ended Q4 2019 with cash and cash equivalents of $86.3 million. Sherritt’s consolidated cash position of $166.1 million at the end of Q4 was down from $169.3 million at the end of Q3 2019.....
- Received $14.9 million in dividend distributions from the Moa JV despite softening nickel and cobalt prices in the quarter.
- Received US$13.4 million in Cuban energy payments, including US$5.9 million related to the overdue receivables agreement ratified in June and US$7.5 million attributable to Sherritt’s Oil and Gas operations.
- Adjusted EBITDA(1) was $17.9 million, up 67% from $12.4 million in Q4 2018. The year-over-year improvement was driven primarily by stronger realized nickel prices but offset by lower cobalt prices.
- Net loss included $132.8 million of non-cash impairment losses related to investments in the Ambatovy Joint Venture and the Power business assets in addition to revaluations of allowances for expected credit losses on the Ambatovy Joint Venture loans receivable...."
IGO Limited [ASX:IGO] (OTC:IIDDY) (formerly Independence Group)
On January 30, IGO Limited announced: "Quarterly period ended 31 December 2019." Highlights include:
- "Nova production exceeded pro-rata guidance range for all metals with cash costs within guidance at A$2.42 per payable pound of nickel for the Quarter.
- Tropicana gold production exceeded guidance range, with Cash Costs and All-in Sustaining Costs of A$698 and A$948 per ounce respectively.
- Revenue and other income of A$212M and underlying EBITDA of A$117M.
- Free cash flow of A$135M for the Quarter, bringing net cash at Quarter end to A$396M.
- Nova offtake agreements finalised on materially improved terms for nickel offtake.
- Disciplined take-over bid for Panoramic Resources Limited allowed to lapse.
- Nova solar farm successfully commissioned, with the Solar PV power plant now providing zero emissions energy to Nova’s processing facility.
- IGO released fifth Sustainability Report and admitted to Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
- The Company changed its name to IGO Limited with effect from 17 January 2020."
On January 30, IGO Limited announced: "Half-year financial report period ended 31 December 2019." Highlights include:
- "Revenue and other income increased 33% to A$475M.
- Underlying EBITDA increased 107% to A$271M.
- Operating cash flows improved 51% to A$245M.
- Underlying free cash flow increased 84% to A$206M increasing net cash to A$396M.
- Final FY19 dividend of A$0.08 per share (franked to 97%) paid.
- An interim FY20 unfranked dividend of A$0.06 per share will be paid on 28 February 2020.
- Nova delivered higher production relative to the prior half-year with production of 15,236t nickel, 6,779t copper and 561t cobalt at a cash cost of A$2.51/lb.
- Tropicana performed better than guidance with gold production of 257,252oz at cash costs and All-in Sustaining Costs of A$719/oz and A$1,007/oz respectively.
- New Nova offtake contracts finalised with materially improved nickel payability terms...."
On January 30, Independence Group announced: "." Highlights include:
Western Areas Ltd. [ASX:WSA](OTCPK:WNARF)
On January 28, Western Areas Ltd. announced: "Activity report for the period ending 31 December 2019." Highlights include:
- "Mine production of 5,849 nickel tonnes and 11,654 nickel tonnes for the half year.
- Mill production of 5,399 nickel tonnes and 10,658 nickel tonnes for half year (FY20 guidance range of 21,000 to 22,000 tonnes for full year).
- Unit cash cost of nickel in concentrate of A$3.10/lb for quarter and A$3.07 for the half year (FY20 guidance of A$2.90/lb to A$3.30/lb).
- Nickel sales of 3,991 nickel tonnes and 9,042 nickel tonnes for half year, impacted by timing of export shipment after quarter end on 1 January 2020.
- Net free cashflow of A$19.0m increased cash at bank to A$184.9m (Sep quarter A$165.9m).
- Final fully franked FY19 dividend of A$5.5m paid to shareholders.
- Successful commissioning of underground main pump station and associated infrastructure at Odysseus, with underground mine rehabilitation advancing.
- New nickel concentrate offtake contracts executed post quarter end, commencing in February 2020."
On February 18, Western Areas Ltd. announced: "Western Areas fy20 half year financial results." Highlights include:
- Higher sales revenue of A$156.2m, driven by the stronger nickel price.
- Average realised price of nickel (before payability) of A$10.57/lb.
- EBITDA up 128% to A$69.7m....
- Significant increase in Net Profit After Tax [NPAT] at A$24.7m, sale of the Company’s shares in Kidman Resources does not report into NPAT.
- Strong free cashflow of A$40.6m increasing cash at bank to A$184.9m with no debt.
- Fully franked interim dividend of 1.0c per share(nil).
- Nickel produced in concentrate of 10.7kt (10.8kt).
- Nickel in concentrate sales totaled 9.0kt (10.4kt), lower than the corresponding period due to timing of an export shipment on 1 January 2020 being after the half year end.
- Odysseus Project mine development advancing well, with key infrastructure completed.
- Sale of investment in Kidman Resources returned A$33.1m in pre tax cash proceeds, no impact on NPAT."
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 January 31, Panoramic Resources announced: "Quarterly report for the period ending 31 December 2019." Highlights include:
- "....Concentrate shipments–three concentrate shipments, aggregate provisional value of A$22.3million.
- Revenue–positive final QP pricing adjustments of A$3.4million received.
- Mining–total lateral development of 1,097m, up 4% quarter-on-quarter.
- Mine Operating Strategy–tender process significantly advanced for contract underground mining to replace current practice of owner-operator with appointment of Barminco Limited as preferred contractor.
- Metal production–1,042t Ni, 695t Cu and 55t Co in concentrate, Ni down 22%, Cu down 19% on previous quarter.
- Savannah North decline development–Savannah North ore body intersected on 18 November 2019, first stoping ore expected in March 2020 quarter.
- Savannah North Fresh Air Raise [FAR]–advanced 210m over the quarter, alternative options to complete the raise under review.
- Savannah North Upper Zone Resource infill drilling–high-grade intersections continue to be received, including 23.1m @ 2.36% Ni, 0.86% Cu and 0.16% Co.
- FY2020 Production Guidance –now expected to be 5.2 -5.6kt contained nickel, 3.4 -3.7kt contained copper and 280 -320t contained cobalt....."
- ".....Group Cash–$14.9million in available and restricted [$180k] cash at quarter end,$23.3 million as at 29 January 2020.
- Capital Raising–accelerated 1-for-6 non-renounceable pro-rata rights issue at 30 cents per new share completed in January 2020, raising $32.7 million before costs and set off of the Zeta bridging loan.
- Third Party Discussions–Panoramic continues to provide due diligence access and change of control transaction discussions continue. Panoramic cautions that there is no guarantee that any discussions will result in a proposal or concluded transaction."
On February 21, Panoramic Resources announced:
Savannah Project contract executed Perenti [ASX: PRN] is pleased to announce its subsidiary, leading hard-rock underground miner Barminco, has formally been awarded a contract by Panoramic Resources at the Savannah Project in the Kimberley, after receiving preferred contractor status last month (see ASX release dated 30 January 2020). Under the circa $200 million contract, Barminco will undertake mine development, production, and haulage over a three-year term at the nickel-copper-cobalt project, with approximately 170 people expected to be employed.
On February 21, Panoramic Resources announced: "Savannah North development update."
On February 21, Panoramic Resources announced: "Savannah underground mining contract executed with Barminco."
Nickel Mines Ltd [ASX:NIC]
On January 28, Nickel Mines Ltd. announced: "Quarterly activities report for the quarter ended 31 December 2019. Hengjaya Nickel and Ranger Nickel RKEF Projects combine for 10,968 tonnes of nickel metal production." Highlights include:
- "Record quarterly nickel production at both Hengjaya Nickel and Ranger Nickel RKEF projects.
- RKEF December quarter production of 10,968.3 tonnes of nickel metal (100% basis), up 9.5% from 10,019.6 tonnes of nickel metal in September quarter.
- NIC attributable nickel production of 6,580.9 tonnes of nickel metal, up 27.5%from 5,161.0 tonnes of nickel metal in September quarter.
- RKEF December quarter sales of US$141.1M (100% basis), up 20.4% from US$117.2M in September quarter.
- RKEF December quarter EBITDA of US$56.6M (100% basis), up 12.7% from US$50.2M in September quarter.
- RKEF December quarter cash costs: Hengjaya Nickel: US$7,778/tonne Ranger Nickel: US$7,886/tonne.
- Cash + receivables + inventory at quarter end of US$190.6M, up 23.2% from US$154.7M in September quarter. Additionally, Group liabilities were reduced by US$21.1M over the quarter.
- Quarterly production from the Hengjaya Mine of 194,159 tonnes, down 2.4%."
RNC Minerals [TSX:RNX] (OTCQX:RNKLF)
On January 29, RNC Minerals announced: "RNC Minerals announces new 5km [gold mineralized] structure identified at Higginsville and approval received for Baloo stage 2 mining."
Axiom Mining [ASX:AVQ] (OTC:AXNNF)
On February 3, Axiom Mining announced: "Monthly activities report for the period ended 31 December 2019."
On February 19, Axiom Mining announced:
Request for voluntary suspension. Axiom Mining Limited (‘Axiom’ or ‘the Company’) was placed in a trading halt on Monday, 27 May 2019, and subsequently requested suspension of its securities from 29 May 2019 to 18 February 2020.....extended to 24 March 2020.
Other nickel producers
Franco/Nevada [TSX:FNV], MMG [HK:1208], South32 [ASX:S32], Lundin Mining [TSX:LUN], Nickel Asia Corporation [PSE:NIKL] (OTC:NIKAY).
Amur Minerals Corp. [LSE:AMC] [GR:A7L] (OTCPK:AMMCF)
On February 17, Amur Minerals Corp. announced:
Metallurgical results update – copper concentrate test work status. Amur Minerals Corporation (“Amur” or the “Company”), the nickel-copper sulphide exploration and development company focused on the far east of Russia, is pleased to announce Gipronickel’s H2 19 metallurgical test results and the status of the ongoing test work to establish the feasibility of generating a saleable copper concentrate. Gipronickel’s phased approach has thus far identified design and operations specific parameters, the flowsheet used to process the representative ten tonne bulk sample to obtain a bulk nickel copper sulphide concentrate and is now in the midst of copper concentrate generation test work using a portion of the bulk sulphide concentrate. Successful generation of a copper concentrate could positively and materially enhance the project economics as all previously reported concentrate sale options within the February 2019 Pre-Feasibility Study (“PFS”) fully excluded any consideration for copper derived revenues as per available off take agreements available to the study.
Poseidon Nickel [ASX:POS] (OTC:PSDNF)
On January 30, Poseidon Nickel announced: "Quarterly report 31 December 2019." Highlights include:
- "Poseidon management continued to progress the Black Swan restart study outcomes, key operational and financial drivers requiring further development."
- "Successful completion of Black Swan underground RC drilling program.
- Results confirmed Open Pit provides exploration opportunity beyond current pit profile."
Windarra Exploration Update
- "Completion of 4,234m exploration drilling and assaying program for Crazy Diamond prospect."
- "Board and Management team strengthened with key appointments of Mr Derek La Ferla as Independent Non-Executive Chairman and Mr Peter Harold as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer."
On February 11, Poseidon Nickel announced: "106% upgrade of nickel reserve at Silver Swan." Highlights include:
Silver Swan Reserve Upgrade
- "Updated Ore Reserve for Silver Swan achieves a 106% increase in contained nickel metal to 130,000t @ 5.2% Ni (6,800 Ni tonnes)."
Black Swan Exploration
- "Large electromagnetic [EM] anomaly consistent with Massive Sulphides detected beneath Black Swan open pit and previously mined Gosling deposit
- Drilling of the EM anomaly to commence immediately."
- "Assays received from recent RC program at Windarra’s Crazy Diamond Prospect; highlights: PNRC0309 intersects 5m @ 0.75% Ni from 12m (ex-sulphides) including 1m @ 1.38% (approx. 0.8m true width). Anomalous gold mineralisation up to 0.5 g/t Au."
On February 27, Poseidon Nickel announced: "Interim Financial report for the six months ended 31 December 2019."
Garibaldi Resources [TSXV:GGI] [GR:RQM] [LN:OUX6] (OTC:GGIFF)
On February 21, Garibaldi Resources announced: "Garibaldi drills 9.3 meters grading 7.2% nickel, 3.6% copper and 4.8 g/t palladium-platinum-gold as lower discovery zone expands and thickens to the North." Highlights include:
- "The eastern section of the Lower Discovery Zone [LDZ] expands and thickens to the north as demonstrated by drill hole EL-19-82 which cut 9.83 meters of massive sulphides grading 7.2% nickel, 3.6% copper and 4.8 g/t 3PM (precious metals palladium, platinum and gold combined) within 32.75 meters of 2.7% Ni and 1.6% Cu (135.25m to 168m). This hole also cut 5.97 meters of 4.3% Ni, 2.3% Cu and 1.5 g/t 3PM in the Upper Discovery Zone [UDZ]...........
- Nearly three meters above the 9.83-meter massive sulphide interval and the LDZ in EL-19-82 is an extremely high-grade 38-cm vein that returned 10.0 g/t palladium, 4.3 g/t platinum, 0.12% cobalt, 3.4 g/t gold, 26.0 g/t silver, 6.5% Ni and 4.8% Cu, additional evidence of precious metal enrichment in the system......."
Cassini Resources [ASX:CZI]
On February 12, Cassini Resources announced: "Nebo-Babel Pre-Feasibility Study: A significant milestone for Cassini." Highlights include:
- "High quality Pre-Feasibility Study places Nebo-Babel deposits in lowest quartile of forecast global nickel producers.
- Robust economics on 26 year mine life, open pit, low carbon footprint operation.
- Maiden Ore Reserve supports first 22 years of operation.
- Project funding options to be progressed.
- Opportunities to add additional value through further exploration and development activities across the 9,500km2 West Musgrave Province."
PFS highlights for West Musgrave (Nebo-Babel)
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 January 31, St George Mining Ltd announced: "Quarterly activities report for the period ended 31 December 2019."
On February 25, St George Mining Ltd announced: "More EM targets emerge for nickel-copper sulphide drilling at Mt Alexander......
Metallurgical testwork continues:
- "Testwork in progress on sulphides from metallurgical hole MAD177 to optimise recoveries of nickel, copper, cobalt and PGEs.
- Preliminary test work produced a nickel concentrate that included 13.5g/t PGEs, including 9g/t Palladium and 1.2g/t Rhodium."
On February 27 St George Mining announced: "St George launches exploration at new Paterson Province Project."
Sama Resources [TSXV: SME] [GR;8RS] (OTCPK:SAMMF)
On January 29, Sama Resources announced:
Sama intersects 4.6 meters of massive sulphide grading 1.98% Nickel, 0.92% Copper and 2.54 gpt Palladium in first Typhoon target at Samapleu......A second drill rig is currently set to test the 700 m deep Typhoon target at Samapleu.
Horizonte Minerals [LN: HZN]
No news for the month.
On January 30, Neometals announced: "Quarterly activities report for the quarter ended 31 December 2019." Highlights include:
- "Acquisition, additional drilling and re-estimation of the geological and mineralisation models at the Munda deposit has seen the total Mt Edwards Nickel Mineral Resources exceed 130,000 tonnes of contained nickel.
- Targeted drilling intercepted nickel sulphides in a recognised nickel camp that hosts four historic mines.
- Nickel exploration at Mt Edwards continues to increase the quantity and quality of the Mineral Resources."
On January 31, Neometals announced: "Further massive nickel sulphide results from Mt Edwards." Highlights include:
- "Massive nickel sulphide intercepts from RC drilling at Armstrong deposit.
- Drill assay results include: 6metres @ 8.11% nickel including 5metres @ 9.63%; 10metres @ 1.65% nickel including 4 metres @ 2.42% nickel; and 3metres @ 1.07% nickel.
- Significant intercepts are within wide mineralised zones of disseminated nickel with assays including:34 metes @ 1.94% nickel; and 24 metres @ 1.13% nickel.
- 1m @ 1.18% Ni intersected at newly acquired tenement (along strike from Mincor’s Cassini Mineral Resource)."
North American Nickel [TSXV:NAN]
On February 6, North American Nickel announced:
North American Nickel announces Loveland Nickel Exploration Program underway.....on the Loveland Nickel property ("Loveland") located 30km northwest of Timmins, Ontario. The property is 23.6 km2 in size and has year-round access.
Conic Metals [TSXV:NKL]
Conic Metals has been formed from the Cobalt 27 spin-out. Conic Metals offers broad exposure to nickel and cobalt through a 8.56% JV interest in Ramu, 11 royalty investments, and an equity share of ~7% of Giga Metals Corporation.
On February 8, Conic Metals announced:
Conic discloses litigation in relation to Ramu Project. Conic Metals Corp. confirms that the Company has become aware of a writ of summons and statement of claim commenced in Papua New Guinea on February 5, 2020 against Ramu Nico Management [MCC] Limited (“MCC Ramu Nickel”). The writ of summons and statement of claim was filed on behalf of the Madang Provincial Government and certain local landowners, which contains certain allegations regarding the environmental impact of operations at the Ramu Nickel-Cobalt Operation. The writ of summons and statement of claim seeks to have Ramu’s tailings to be moved to an onshore tailings disposal facility, to have Ramu’s deep-sea tailings facility closed, certain declaratory relief, as well as monetary damages in the amount of K$18 billion (approximately US$5 billion) and special damages of K1.6 million (approximately US$473k).
On February 24, Conic Metals announced:
Conic highlights Ramu operating results. Conic Metals Corp. is pleased to provide its first summary of the operating performance of the Company’s largest asset, being the Ramu Nickel-Cobalt (“Ramu”) integrated operation in Papua New Guinea (“PNG”), which management believes is one of the largest and most ambitious mining and processing projects to have been successfully brought into production in PNG during the past decade. Conic currently holds an 8.56% joint-venture interest in the Ramu operation. Ramu is operated by the Metallurgical Corporation of China (“MCC”) which, along with its partners, owns an 85.0% interest in Ramu. “For the third consecutive year, Ramu has exceeded design production capacity and remained one of the lowest cost integrated nickel mines in the world,” stated Justin Cochrane, Conic’s President and CEO. He continued, “MCC has once again delivered outstanding operational and financial performance at our Ramu nickel-cobalt operation and we continue to work with our joint-venture partners to maximize value, from one of the world’s largest nickel-cobalt operations, for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Canada Nickel [TSXV:CNC]
Canada Nickel 100% own the Crawford Nickel-Cobalt Sulphide Project, near Timmins in Canada.
On February 26 Canada Nickel announced: Canada Nickel company to begin trading on TSX Venture Exchange. Canada Nickel expects that its common shares (the "Common Shares") will commence trading effective at the open of markets on February 27, 2020. “This is an exciting time to be launching an entirely new pure play nickel-cobalt company as the global demand for electric vehicle battery components shifts into high gear,” said Mark Selby, Chairman and CEO of Canada Nickel. “We believe that our Crawford Nickel-Cobalt project could be one of the only new nickel projects globally with large scale potential. The Canada Nickel team is leveraging the project’s excellent location and infrastructure, and our team’s extensive project, industry and capital market experience and insights in advancing large scale nickel-cobalt projects. With exploration activities well underway, we expect a steady stream of news flow.”
Ardea Resources [ASX:ARL] (OTCPK:ARRRF), Artemis Resources [ASV:ARV], Australian Mines [ASX:AUZ], Blackstone Minerals [ASX:BSX], Cassini Resources [ASX: CZI] (OTC:CSSQF), Centaurus Metals [ASX:CTM], Clean TeQ [ASX:CLQ] [TSX:CLQ] (OTCQX:CTEQF), FPX Nickel [TSXV:FPX], Giga Metals [TSXV:GIGA], Grid Metals Corp [TSXV:GRDM, Inomin Mines [TSXV:MINE], New Age Metals [TXV:NAM], Nickel Creek Platinum [TSX:NCP] (OTCQX:NCPCF), Pancontinental Resources Corporation [TSXV:PUC], Polymet Mining [TSX:POM], Rox Resources [ASX:RXL], S2 Resources (ASX:S2R), Talisman Mining Ltd. [ASX:TLM], Talon Metals [TSXV:TLO], 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 were slightly lower and LME nickel inventory rose in February.
Highlights for the month were:
- Indonesia: Coronavirus will delay US$11 billion in projects.
- Nornickel - Coronavirus to hit nickel and copper markets, at least in Q1, 2020.
- Vale 2019 nickel production was 208 kt, and 2020 guidance is 200-210 kt. Vale generated US$ 8.105 billion in Free Cash Flow from Operations in 2019.
- Nornickel total 2019 nickel output increased 5% year-on-year to 229kt. Consolidated 2019 revenue increased 16% y-o-y to USD 13.6 billion, thanks mostly to higher palladium prices.
- BHP results for H2 2019 - Underlying EBITDA was up 15 percent, to US$12 billion.
- Glencore - Own sourced nickel production of 120.6 kt tonnes was 3.2 kt tonnes (3%) lower than in 2018.
- Independence Group has changed its name to IGO Limited.
- Poseidon Nickel - Updated Ore Reserve for Silver Swan achieves a 106% increase in contained nickel metal to 130,000t @ 5.2% Ni (6,800 Ni tonnes).
- Cassini Resources/ Oz Minerals JV released a positive West Musgrave Nebo-Babel Pre-Feasibility Study.
- Garibaldi Resources drills 9.3 meters grading 7.2% nickel, 3.6% copper and 4.8 g/t palladium-platinum-gold as lower discovery zone expands and thickens to the North.
- Neometals - Mt Edwards - Drill assay results include: 6metres @ 8.11% nickel including 5metres @ 9.63%.
- Conic Metals discloses litigation in relation to Ramu Project.
- Canada Nickel [TSXV:CNC] commenced trading on February 27, 2020.
As usual all comments are welcome.
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Analyst’s 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.
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