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LME Nickel Stocks

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#142

TDT

If you want read about this
“Another China’s investment is PT Virtue Dragon Nickel Industry operating in ferronickel processing sector in Konawe, Southeast Sulawesi, with a total investment of US$5 billion and an annual production capacity of 600,000 tons”


#143

Nuno

Most of that is destined for the stainless steel market. The one thing it will/might do, however, is potentially release some of the class 1 nickel that’s currently used to make stainless steel for the battery market.

As mentioned in a previous post the Chinese are well ahead of the game in this sector. They know that the easiest and cheapest way to get class 1 nickel for batteries is to the release the class 1 currently used to make stainless steel. NPI and ferronickel can do that.

TDT :sunglasses:


#144

TDT

With this new offer of NPI and ferronickel, we should study the impact on the price, since more nickel class 1 / nickel sulfides will be available for use in batteries.

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#145

Nuno

I think this is a more accurate reflection of the allocation of class 1 nickel and the potential to substitute.

Some alloys do not include any Fe. That would rule out NPI and ferronickel as a subsitutue for class 1. Monel, a nickel/copper alloy, is a good example. It would make more sense to try and establish how much class 1 nickel can be substututed for NPI. I suspect its not a huge amount but in the absence of any numbers its difficult to establish an exact figure.

TDT :sunglasses:


#146

"Nickel prices will have to rise dramatically before Vale makes new investments in nickel, reports said Tuesday."

That ties in with Norilsk’s prediction that the price of nickel would need to rise before processing laterites through HPAL then refining further to produce nickel sulphate would be viable.

If nickel were to hit $20,000/tonne Amur Minerals would have an in ground asset value of $40B (assuming 2m tonnes of nickel equivalent after this years drilling). Using a simple 5% of in ground value the NPV would be $2B or £1.52B. That’s over £2/share.

Worth waiting for?

TDT :sunglasses:


#147

So far this week nickel in the LME is down by 3,804 tonnes. Current total left in the LME stands at 220,422 tonnes. It looks like the appetite for class 1 nickel is still healthy.

TDT :sunglasses:


#148

I think that the great catalyst for now is the trade war and the increase of production of Indonesia, in any case this price does not correspond to the existing stocks or to the demand perspective.


#149

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#150

C4V’s new solid state battery has arrived and is now on the road to mass production in New York!
Working prototype showcased by C4V at the NYBEST 2018 Fall Conference in New York.
Battery’s Energy Density of 380Wh/kg achieved without cobalt.
System-level testing of the new battery now underway for strategic offtake partner.
Binghamton, NY, September 30, 2018 – Charge CCCV, LLC (C4V) today demonstrated a prototype of its new Solid State Battery (SSB) at the NY BEST 2018 Fall Conference in New York. The Company’s SSB solution delivers higher performance, higher density, lower cost batteries that promise to require significantly less charging time than others.

The Technology
C4V has been able to replace more than 80% of the liquid electrolyte with a solid electrolyte producing a semi-solid-state technology with an energy density of approximately 380Wh/kg.

This technology will provide a remarkable 70% range increase for every Electric Car that employs the C4V Solid State Battery. An Electric Vehicle today, currently capable of a 300-mile range, would with C4V’s technology be able to extend its range to 510 miles on a single charge.

The C4V Generation 3 Battery utilizes energy densities and volumetric capacities of 380Wh/kg and 700 Wh/L and the Company is already targeting a 400Wh/kg and 750 Wh/lit milestone within the next six month timeframe before commercial process optimization starts. In the first half of 2019, C4V plans to announce the availability of its commercial cells to the market.

The Company is working alongside commercial supply chains to fine-tune the compositions, chemical structures, particle morphologies and electrode processing techniques for tailored applications such as Electric Vehicles, grid back-ups, aviation needs and portable electronics requirements.

Dr. Shailesh Upreti, founder and President of C4V, emphasized in a statement today that: “It is our mission at C4V to discover solutions that solve problems lying at the materials level to create value at the Lithium-ion Battery and system level. Our unique materials technology not only reduces the cost of batteries significantly, it promises to provide relief to certain key metal supply constraints.”Dr. Upreti went on further to say: “C4V’s global joint venture companies are achieving price reductions through economies of scale by adopting its innovations. Our first generation high power and energy density batteries do not employ the use of cobalt, instead use higher voltage composite material in combination with other abundant raw materials and thus greatly reduce costs, while relying on a less volatile supply chain.”

At today’s NYBEST Annual Conference, Dr. Upreti showcased the new technology by lighting an LED with a prototype of C4V’s SSB stating in summary that, “We are very excited about these new developments in the Solid State Battery segment. C4V has taken a commercial approach to developing material and designs for its next generation product. We are able to demonstrate the drop-in nature of our technology which thus eliminates costly disruptions on the manufacturing floor”.

C4V continues to work closely with strategic partners as well as their established supply chain partners to bring its s latest innovations to market.”


#151

The nickel sector is becoming a two-tiered market, with a weaker outlook for materials bound for the stainless steel industry and robust demand growth in the EV sector that’ll support prices, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a note received Tuesday. In a note of caution, Russia’s nickel mining giant MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC sees EV-related demand slowing in 2019 as some countries cut subsidies to the vehicles.


#152

This is an interesting article.

The forgotten metals
Lithium (see Fig 2) and cobalt have been the stars of the battery metals market because of their stunning price movements, but there are a number of other metals in the mix that are potentially more interesting.

“They’re called lithium-ion [batteries], and everyone just assumes they’re mainly lithium. They’re actually not,” Mills said. “There’s other metals in there which are very much undervalued, and their time is going to come.”

Graphite, for instance, makes up almost 50 percent of the mass of lithium-ion batteries, but Mills said this goes unappreciated: “The price is just starting to come up, and you’re going to be in a position where the growth in terms of demand is going to be huge and you don’t have enough graphite to support the market.” Research by market research firm MarketsandMarkets said the graphite industry is expected to be worth $29.05bn by 2022.

Nickel is another underrated battery metal, Widmer said, because for every gram of cobalt removed, the nickel content of the cathode must be increased. “And that’s exactly what has been happening,” he said, referring to moves by the likes of Tesla and Panasonic to eradicate cobalt.

However, over the past few years on the nickel market, a number of big mines run by giants like Norilsk Nickel, BHP Billiton, Glencore and Anglo American have burned through a lot of cash. Widmer explained: “They didn’t close their mines down, but they had to cross-subsidise a lot of those operations, and because of that we have seen virtually no growth [capital expenditure] going into the industry.

“So you’re now in an environment where the mining industry has stopped spending on operations at the same time as you’re actually seeing the demand increase coming through.”

Currently, nickel looks set to be one of the strongest metals fundamentally. According to Widmer, it is the raw material that BAML says gives the best exposure to the rising popularity of electric vehicles. “It looks very, very bullish,” he told World Finance. Prices have risen steadily, and as of July they were up about 40 percent over the previous year, even taking into account a sell-off due to various global trade disputes.

The case for many battery metals continues to look strong. Although there will be some oversupplies in the lithium market, its position as a key component of lithium-ion batteries means long-term demand will stay strong so long as demand for electric vehicles rises. Cobalt’s future, however, looks bleak.

Due to its concentration in a politically volatile country and the proliferation of child labour in the supply chain, many manufacturers have decided to engineer the metal out of their batteries. But until a transformational next-generation battery is developed, metals like graphite and nickel, which have yet to gain the same level of attention from investors, may be the ones to provide the most noteworthy price spikes in the months and years ahead.


#153

Nickel briquette – a key feedstock for nickel sulfate and stainless steelmaking – has been extensively used by downstream consumers in China this year against a backdrop of healthy demand growth in the domestic electric vehicle (EV) and stainless steel sectors.

Duty-free nickel briquette, typically imported from Madagascar and Australia, is the most commonly accepted type of this material in China and enjoys the most liquidity in the country.

To better monitor the development of EV market in China, Fastmarkets MB is planning to launch a cif Shanghai duty-free nickel briquette premium to complement the successful launch of its yuan-denominated nickel sulfate price assessment in July.

The proposal to launch the new assessment comes ahead of an expected boom in nickel demand from the EV battery sector, with demand for the material for use in EV batteries projected to surge fivefold over the next six to seven years, according to Fastmarkets MB head of base metals and battery research William Adams.

The duty-free nickel briquette long-term contract settled between battery makers and duty-free briquette producers was at around $120-160 per tonne in the first half year, before rising to $180-200 per tonne in the second half while the market shifts toward more nickel-weighted batteries, such as the NCM 811 – a cathode composition of 80% nickel, 10% cobalt and 10% manganese.

“We used to rely on purchasing nickel sulfate from sulfate producers, like Jinchuan. But we’re expanding capacity so we need to produce our own nickel sulfate via nickel briquette dissolution facilities,” a procurer from a major battery plant in China said.

“It took us quite some time to procure and then install the full set of nickel briquette dissolution facilities, and it wasn’t until the middle of the year that we got it done and our operations started. This is also the case for many of our peers, that’s why the premium for briquette in second half year was higher,” he added.

In addition to the project surge in nickel demand from the EV sector, China’s growing stainless steel output is also expected to contribute to the rising usage of nickel briquette in the country. Chinese stainless steel output rose by 4.1% year on year in January-August 2018 to 17.35 million tonnes, according to Chinese information provider Antaike.

At the beginning of this year, China raised its import tax on melting refined nickel to 2%, though nickel briquette imported from Australia and Madagascar remain duty-free under Free Trade Zone agreements.

“The tax increase has cemented the competiveness of duty-free briquettes in terms of price, so it’s not surprising to see it being more widely used this year,” a Shanghai-based trader said.

In China’s domestic market, duty-free nickel briquette is currently trading at a discount of around 500 yuan ($72) per tonne against the most-traded nickel contract on the Wuxi Stainless Steel Exchange, while Norilsk nickel full-plate cathode, which is subject to the 2% import tax, is trading at a premium of 200 yuan per tonne, according to traders. Therefore briquette is approximately 700 yuan per tonne cheaper than Norilsk full-plate cathode.

Meanwhile, the London Metal Exchange has already approved nickel briquette for physical delivery against its futures contract, with the Wuxi Stainless Steel Exchange following suit in initiating a public consultation late in May to add it for physical delivery, which is also expected to increase nickel briquette liquidity in China.

The Shanghai Futures Exchange is also said to be investigating the feasibility of approving nickel briquette for physical delivery against its futures contracts amid dwindling global stock levels, according to market participants.

Available nickel stocks on both the LME and SHFE have been on a downward trajectory since the beginning of the year, with market participants disputing the cause of the decline as either the result of real demand or the material is being used for financing activities and thus has become “invisible”.

SHFE deliverable nickel stocks stood at 16,204 tonnes as of October 12, plummeting by 67% from 48,920 tonnes on January 5. Similarly, LME nickel stocks stood at 219,924 tonnes on Thursday October 18, down 40% from 366,612 tonnes on January 2 – the first trading day of the year


#154


#155

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/metals/101618-meeting-future-metal-demands-of-evs-still-a-challenge-to-miners-vale-official


#156

To read, it has nothing to do with Nickel, but it has everything to do with Nickel

https://www.wsj.com/articles/emerging-markets-selloffs-why-this-one-is-different-1539613801?tier_1=paid_social_acquisition&tier_2=Facebook&tier_3=EMEA+CBO&tier_4=EMEA+CBO+Retargeting&tier_5=Emerging+Markets+Selloffs&nan_pid=1864677482&ad_id=8451036


#157

Assumptions of how many electric vehicles are going to be on the round in 10 or 20 years are subject to all sorts of factors: what will government policies be? What will be the price of gasoline and diesel? How quickly can OEMs build them and will the public accept them?

Another huge question: batteries. Not just whether the capacity to build them can be added quickly enough but the more complex question of whether the metals that they are built out will be in adequate supply.

That was the key focus of the first-ever S&P Global Platts Battery Metals Conference in New York on Tuesday. Whether there is going to be adequate metals supply, and which metals will be desired, was the overriding subject of a day-long debate on the first day of the two-day conference.

The chemistry of the individual battery creates different strengths and weaknesses. For example, Roman Kramarchuk, the head of technology policy and energy analytics for S&P Global Plats, said a lithium nickel/manganese/cobalt battery is good for electricity storage and vehicles, while a lithium iron phosphate battery can be preferred for storage and for larger vehicles. “There are always tradeoffs in terms of cost and density,” Kramarchuk said.

Even as battery improvements are being made, Kramarchuk cautioned that other technologies that batteries will need to compete with are not standing still. He said there was likely to be a natural gas vehicle conference going on somewhere at the same time as the battery metals conference, and “there is also hydrogen lurking in the background in terms of energy storage and transportation.”

Essentially there are three key risks for the future in lithium ion batteries, Kramarchuk said. The first is what changes in the price for lithium and other components mean for battery updates. The second is technology, and whether technologies are getting locked in during the construction of an auto plant, thereby possibly foreclosing the adoption of newer, better technologies. The third is policy and regulatory risks. “If you look, as soon as subsidies are pulled away, you see a tremendous drop in installed vehicles, even in places like Denmark,” Kramarchuk said.

“How easy is it to change chemistries if metals prices shift and there is pressure to use more or less of a metal?” Kramarchuck asked.

As Kramarchuck noted, developments in battery technology “are not necessarily a quick process. It can take 10 years to go from introduction to full development. These are the technologies of the future, but they will not sneak up on us.”

Plenty of lithium out there…in the ground
One issue that everyone agreed with is that reserves of lithium are not an issue. The world has ample reserves of it, though there is concern that the world is overly dependent upon Chile, Argentina, China and Australia.

And that’s a good thing, because the numbers on expected growth of lithium demand are staggering. According to figures presented by Kramarchuck, in 2017, the world produced 230 kilotons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE). Passenger light-duty electric vehicles were 15% of total consumption.

In 2025, the figure for LCE consumption by EVs is expected to be 280 kt given the projected increase in adoption, so that EV consumption of lithium in seven years will exceed the consumption of all lithium now.

In the case of cobalt, total production now is about 110 kt. By 2025, the expectation is that consumption just from EVs will be 80-100 kt. By 2030, that cobalt figure will be anywhere from 170-300 kt.

The irony is that even with projections of massive growth in demand over the next 15-20 years, the market is expecting a surplus of lithium in the next few years. Mustafa Hafeez, a director at Deutsche Bank, said the market is “still trying to understand the trajectory of the mineral in the coming year,” but there is a consensus that with new projects slated to come online in the near future, there will be a surplus of lithium. And then, as Hafeez noted, the market becomes “circular,” with the low prices discouraging investment in the projects that are going to be needed for the years after the surplus disappears.

The equity markets for companies that produce lithium, Hafeez said, “are pricing in a medium-term oversupply.”

The fact is that lithium prices have been weakening in recent months. While S&P Global Platts only recently launched its first lithium assessment, it already has seen a decline in its North Asia lithium hydroxide price to $18,000/mt from $19,000/mt in early September. The website for Benchmark Minerals reported that the price was about $23,000/mt in March of this year.

Lithium mining coming back to the Carolinas
But the surge in prices over the past few years, as it always does in mineral markets, has incentivized the production of old reserves that in some cases have been closed for many years. A case in point: Piedmont Lithium, a publicly-traded mining company that is looking to revive an old mine near Charlotte, NC at a site that is also not far from existing processing facilities.

Howard Klein, a partner at RK Equity who filled in for Piedmont’s CEO on a panel, talked about synergies between “auto alley” stretching from Ontario down into the U.S. southeast, and what he said could become “lithium alley,” where not just Piedmont but other reserves are reactivated to supply the tremendous expected growth in demand.

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Klein said at one point back in the 50’s, about 100% of the world’s lithium came from U.S. deposits near those of Piedmont, though that was well before the advent of the lithium ion battery. Klein said he hoped Piedmont would produce its first lithium by 2021.

There is new transparency coming to the market for some key metals. The London Metal Exchange is seeking to launch a cash-settled lithium contract. An existing LME cobalt contract–which has issues with the fact that some of its deliveries might come from mines with child labor–is looking to add a cash-settled contract to provide more liquidity and help sidestep that issue.

“The next phase of supply needed will require time and capital,” Hafeez said. “Supply could once again play catch-up to a much steeper demand curve.”

It was clear from the conference that within the battery community, there will be a battle for what metals go into the next generation of batteries and at what percentage. Consistent through all the discussions is that cobalt use needs to be reduced. It has strong battery properties, including its chemical stability, but more than 50% of the world’s production comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the former Zaire, a country racked by decades of war. Its price has been extremely volatile the past several years.

For example, Paul Casbar, a regional sales manager for Vale Americas Inc.–Brazil’s Vale owns the assets that formerly made up nickel giant International Nickel of Canada–made his pitch for nickel’s role.

cobalt price.JPG
His arguments: nickel’s energy density is a strong asset in building the next generation of batteries, it’s plentiful, its costs make it far more attractive than cobalt, and it comes from stable areas. But another area of stability–the chemical’s stability in the battery, a key selling point for cobalt–is problematic with nickel, Casbar said.

“That can be overcome by technology,” he said.

But nickel production would need an enormous ramp-up in output that at present has no reasonable chance of occurring, based on the numbers cited by Casbar. Nickel supplies would need to be 200 kt above what is produced today in the next few years “and that is something that has never happened before,” Casbar said.

Enter manganese. Christopher Ecclestone, a mining strategies at Hallgarten & Co., said more manganese into the battery chemistry–it is being used now with cobalt and nickel–“can give you the best results, but you pay top dollar.”

Finally, there’s vanadium. But that metal is heavy, and while it was referred to several times over the course of the day, the assumption is that vanadium has a bright future for stationary uses, like home storage batteries. Vanadium in EV batteries add too much weight to the car to be economically effective.

But vanadium’s weight will make it problematic to make its way into electric vehicles, where lithium’s light weight as well as density make it the perfect choice to be the base metal in any formulation for an EV battery. As was noted by one speaker, it isn’t going to be engineered out of batteries anytime soon.

That is unless the “holy grail” of batteries, as mentioned by several presenters, is developed: solid state.

The Wikipedia definition of solid state batteries is that they are "a battery technology that uses both solid electrodes and solid electrolytes, instead of the liquid or polymer electrolytes found in Lithium-ion or Lithium polymer batteries.” But as this story notes, a full description of how they work is tough to come by, because they don’t exist: “Unfortunately, the characteristics of a solid-state battery for EV use can’t be described yet, because no one has produced such a battery of the appropriate size and cost for an electric vehicle,” Power Electronics, an Informa publication, said of the technology.


#158

https://stockhead.com.au/resources/100bn-in-nickel-investment-is-needed-to-keep-up-with-electric-car-demand/amp/


#159

BOB, Thanks for sharing

VALE has an operation in Indonésia INCO, if you want try to find.

China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.5% in the third quarter of 2018, which represents the weakest growth since the first quarter of 2009, the Chinese statistics department announced Friday.


#160

Hi nuno,
There seems to be so many mixed messages out there. Up - down, good - bad, yes - no, what a guessing game !
Surely nickel and copper price should start to increase soon…here’s hoping !


#161

Nickel stored at LME at 228.900! Who can confirm???

At this rate I believe we can close the year just above 200,000…