Saturday, 5 September 2009

Nickel price set to rise?

Some encouraging news for next year's MEI conference on nickel processing. According to a report by Minara Resources, the nickel price is expected to rise by about 9% in the 2010 financial year amid signs of recovery in China's stainless steel market.
Minara Resources chief executive Peter Johnston says "Nickel demand and production in 2009 decreased 20 per cent and we're expecting a rebound of about nine per cent in 2010."
The nickel price is now about $US18,300 ($A21,798), which compares to a high of about $US55,000 ($A65,515) a tonne at the height of China's steel-making boom in 2007 and a 2008 low of $US8,900 ($A10,601) as it curtailed steel production.


  1. Some comments from LinkedIn:

    Good(ish) news in that some more cost effective projects become viable - but a far cry from the 2006 highs when the price allowed the larger more costly lateritic HPAL nickel projects to be considered.
    By Mark Davies Managing Director at FTI Consulting

    I found the $4bn reference to viable laterite projects interesting. If so, this does not bode well for atmospheric leach operations such as European Nickel's - Caldag project... Bruce Wedderburn presented the capital costs associated with some of these high CAPEX operations during the 2009 ALTA conference. Subsequent to the over expenditure of all these HPAL projects, none would survive given the current Ni price.


    Having the scars myself as Project Controls Manager on Laterite project that was shelved and knowing the budget intimately - taking into account the costs for HPAL process resistant materials etc - I don't see projects of this nature becoming very much cheaper unless there are major advances in process technology that would allow cheaper equipment costs.

    By Mark Davies Managing Director at FTI Consulting

  2. The price that nickel dropped to was never going to be sustainable, supply would have fallen to less than 50% by the end of 2009. At today's operating costs it has to make it's way to US$ 22,000 before there are enough producers making ends meet to bring some stability. It should hit this before mid-2010.


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