VANCOUVER – With nickel prices already up almost 40% in 2014, a suspension at Vale’s (NYSE: VALE) Goro mine in New Caledonia has pushed the price of the steelmaking component to a two-year high.
The Goro mine has limited impact on global nickel supplies whether it is running or not, so a stable metal market would react little to the suspension. However, the nickel market is far from stable and so the Goro news acted as fuel on the fire that has been heating up nickel for months.
Indonesia started that fire in January when it banned exports of nickel ore. For years China and Japan have imported raw nickel laterite ore from Indonesia and turned it into nickel pig iron (NPI), a cheaper alternative for steelmakers to pure nickel. The trade amounts to 450,000 t/y, or almost a quarter of the 2-million-tonne global annual nickel market.
The export ban is intended to spur local processing …
Read the complete story at NorthernMiner.com/news/goro-suspension