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World’s Top Ten Nickel Producers

Nickel is an indispensable compound in steel production and is known as the “silent saviour” because it plays a role in the global transition to clean…

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Nickel is an indispensable compound in steel production and is known as the “silent saviour” because it plays a role in the global transition to clean energy and is one of the key metals for battery assembly in electric vehicles for companies like Tesla, Volkswagen, Mercedes, and more.  In 2020, despite the global pandemic, global nickel production totalled 22 million tonnes. Global nickel mining production is expected to rise again this year, with GlobalData estimating an increase of 6.8% to 25 million tonnes. 

According to the US Geological Survey, total nickel reserves are estimated at 94 million tonnes. That total counts Australia and Indonesia as holding some of the largest reserves in the world, with big production numbers as well. 

Production slowdowns were not a particular problem for the nickel mining industry, and the industry was more than able to make up for lockdowns and restrictions by keeping operations running in multiple countries using caution and the right safety measures. The total 22 million tonnes produced in 2020 is a testament to the resiliency of the industry and the fact that while demand may have shrunk temporarily in the period, production must continue to keep up with ongoing demand that continues to rise.

The Top 10 Nickel Producers

Russia Norilsk Nickel (OTC:NILSY)

Russia Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) was the top nickel producer with approximately 178 kilotons (kt) of production, up from 172 kn in 2019. The Nornickels Kola Division, which includes five mines, is being reviewed for its environmental footprint and has pledged $5 billion over the next decade to clean up the pipelines on the Kola Peninsula. 

Vale (NYSE:VALE), Glencore (OTC:GLNCY)

From its Brazilian proejcts, Vale (NYSE:VALE) is in second place with 167.6kt, down from about 171kt the year before. PT Vale Indonesia says it plans to begin construction of its Pomalaa nickel project next year. The mining giants in third, fourth and fifth place are Glencore (OTC:GLNCY), which has assets in Australia, Canada and Europe and collectively produced 101.6kt and 108kt in 2019 ; followed by BHP (ASX:BHP) with 74.8kt from its nickel west business in Australia, and Anglo American (LSE:AAL) with 43.6kt from its Brazilian business. 

The Chinese company MCC JJJ Mining, whose production is based on its ownership of 85% of Ramu Mine in Papua New Guinea, rounds out the top ten and is one point behind Finnish Terrafame with 28.6 kts of nickel production in 2020. Perth-based IGO produced 29.5kts and Terrafames followed close behind with 28.7kTS. 

A Metal for an Electric Future

Nickel is known as the “silent saviour” because it plays a role in the global transition to clean energy and is one of the key metals for battery assembly in electric vehicles. The nickel group is of extreme importance to the global economy and the mining industry in countries in every corner of the globe.

Metallic mineralization occurs in the hard nickel group, which includes nickel, cobalt, copper and chromium. The economic concentration of nickel is found in sulphide and laterite-rich deposits in Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Russia and Canada which together account for more than 50% of the nickel resources in the world. Nickel mining has increased significantly over the last three decades, and known nickel reserves and resources are growing rapidly.

Due to the enormous use and demand for Canada’s nickel specifically, nickel-related products are exported to more than 100 countries. Nickel and its compounds are indispensable for the manufacture of countless products on which we depend.    

Nickel, long used as a corrosion-resistant material in the steel industry, has exploded due to the mass production of cheap electronic equipment, most of which uses nickel in manufacturing. Demand for nickel has also increased in recent years and is becoming increasingly important in the electric vehicle industry. As demand for renewable energy increases, electric cars are increasingly dependent on copper, nickel, cobalt and other metals.

As the world moves away from fossil fuels, the demand for copper, nickel, cobalt and other metals will continue to rise. A 2017 World Bank report says that the industry will demand copper and nickel by 2050 at an increase of 250% if the world builds enough wind technology to keep global warming below 2 degrees – an increase over the Paris climate agreement benchmark. With the additional need from energy storage technologies, the demand for nickel will increase by 1,200 percent.

The same applies to cobalt, which is needed for lithium-ion batteries and can be degraded. According to a report by the World Bank on a low carbon future, there will be strong demand for a wide range of base and precious metals. In addition to the usual suspects such as cobalt and lithium-ion, the list includes aluminium, silver, steel, nickel, lead and zinc.

Cobalt is a silver-grey metal that was developed as a by-product of copper and nickel mining and is an important component of the cathode of lithium-ion batteries. Nickel is another ingredient needed in batteries and is expected to account for a large proportion of future batteries.

 

The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a licensed professional for investment advice. The author is not an insider or shareholder of any of the companies mentioned above.

The post World’s Top Ten Nickel Producers: (OTC:NILSY), (NYSE:VALE), Glencore (OTC:GLNCY), and More appeared first on MiningFeeds.

Precious Metals

Valore Metals provides drilling update at Pedra Branca platinum project

  VANCOUVER – Valore Metals Corp. [VO-TSXV; KVLQF-OTC] provided an update on 2021 drilling from the Santo Amaro target at the 100%-owned Pedra Branca…

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VANCOUVER – Valore Metals Corp. [VO-TSXV; KVLQF-OTC] provided an update on 2021 drilling from the Santo Amaro target at the 100%-owned Pedra Branca platinum group element project in northeastern Brazil.

“Two thousand twenty-one drilling at Santo Amaro has greatly advanced the interpreted geological model for the resource-associated ultramafic package, allowing for more targeted resource expansion drilling and a higher level of confidence in future resource estimations,” stated Valore’s vice-president of exploration, Colin Smith. “Significant drilling results include the 110-metre ultramafic intercept in DD21SA42, an approximately 95-metre step-out hole drilled to the southeast of the current resource, multiple near-surface intervals of mineralization within and along strike from the current resource, and mineralized intercepts better defining the northwest mineralized zone, situated about 250 metres northwest of the current resource.”

Nineteen holes were drilled totalling 2,204 metres, with a primary focus of resource expansion. All 19 completed holes intercepted the target UM intrusion, with assays received in full for seven holes (12 holes pending), and the final drill hole currently in progress.

Near-surface mineralization encountered in seven of the seven holes received to date, with a highlight of 36 metres at 2.22 g/t palladium plus platinum plus gold (2PGE+Au) from 43 metres, including 9.1 metres at 6.38 g/t 2PGE+gold from 43 metres in drill hole DD21SA3.

Assays are pending for a 110-metre chromite-bearing ultramafic intercept in step-out hole DD21SA42. Advancement of northwest mineralized zone continues, situated about 250 metres northwest of the resource where all six drill holes intercepted target ultramafic (UM) intrusion (assays pending).

Upon completion of the final hole, both drill rigs to be mobilized to the Santo Amaro South target, 1.5 km south, to drill 200 metres in four holes, and thereafter to the Massape target, 30 km southwest, to drill 1,000 metres in 10 holes.

Reported core assay interval lengths are estimated to represent 90 to 100% of true width.

Santo Amaro is one of five currently defined PGE deposit areas at Pedra Branca, which together host an inferred resource totalling 1,067,000 ounces of 2PGE+Au contained in 27.2 million tonnes grading 1.22 g/t 2PGE+gold.

While PGE mineralization in the UM intrusion that hosts the Santo Amaro resource remains open in both directions along strike, the easterly extension exhibits a potential thickening of the target package and was subsequently targeted with two holes in 2021. Both holes intercepted broad, shallow intervals of chromite-bearing UMs along trend from the existing resource, with DD21SA42 transecting 110 metres of the target host intrusion and DD21SA40 transecting 24 metres (assays pending).

The resource strike potential also remains open to the west, as evidenced by westernmost 2020 drill hole DD20SA23, which returned 20 m at 0.98 g/t 2PGE+gold from surface. Potential geological continuity has been built with the advancing northwest target area, which would more than double the trend of shallow PGE-bearing ultramafics at Santo Amaro.

 

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Report: MetalsTech – Firing on all cylinders after finding visible gold at Sturec

 
MetalsTech (MTC.AX) had a relatively quiet summer as the majority of the news flow was dominated by the company’s decision to spin out its lithium…

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MetalsTech (MTC.AX) had a relatively quiet summer as the majority of the news flow was dominated by the company’s decision to spin out its lithium assets. A good move as this will establish MetalsTech as a pure gold exploration company and as the market didn’t seem to allocate any value to the lithium assets, it’s better to spin them out into a separate company to unlock some of that value. MTC will distribute 45 million shares of Winsome Resources to its own shareholders and this means MetalsTech shareholders will receive approximately one new share of Winsome Resources for every 3.68 MetalsTech shares held.

The lithium market is on fire these days and one tonne of LCE is currently changing hands for more than $20,000. This obviously rekindles the interest in the entire sector and MetalsTech may very well luck out on the timing of the spinoff as the share price of Winsome may exceed the A$0.20 IPO price right out of the gate.

The MetalsTech share price had a phenomenal run lately thanks to a lack of selling due to investors holding onto shares up until the entitlement date for the free spinout shares and a combination of positive catalysts including the lithium spinout news, and likely also thanks to the resource upgrade and the news-hungry market expecting more drill results from the Sturec gold project in Slovakia. The drill program is indeed in full swing now and as MetalsTech reported visible gold in several holes now, it’s understandable to see the market getting excited.

The current drill program will result in an updated resource estimate which will then subsequently be used for an initial scoping study on the project. As you see, MetalsTech will have plenty of news flow in the next 3-6 months as the Sturec gold project is being advanced towards development.

You can re-read our initial report on MetalsTech and the background of the Sturec gold project.

Sturec Mine

More high-grade gold at Sturec

A few weeks ago, MetalsTech announced the discovery of visible gold in hole 17 which was an infill drill hole meant to follow up on hole 14 where MetalsTech encountered 10 meters of almost 17 g/t gold within a broader interval of 43 meters of 4.88 g/t gold and 11.8 g/t silver.

Micriscope photo of the visible gold at 73.75m in UGA-17, associated with a large concentration of pyrite in a white to grey chalcedonic quartz-pyrite filled vein/stockwork zone.

Hole 17 is an underground drill hole, drilled from Drill Chamber 2, and the hole is located close to the pit outline used in the 2021 mineral resource update. As you can see on the image above, the location of hole 17 is important as it will basically be able to validate the findings in hole 10, 13, 14 and perhaps even hole 5 which ended at the bottom of the pit outline.

MetalsTech must have an excellent relationship with the lab as the assay results were released just shortly afterwards. While it’s possible to have initial excitement about having visible gold in the core only to receive disappointing assay results, that very clearly wasn’t the case here as the assay results indicate 35 meters containing 3.31 g/t gold and 12.3 g/t silver, including an even higher-grade interval of 19 meters containing 5.09 g/t gold and 12.9 g/t silver.

Those are excellent grades. As MetalsTech would like to develop Sturec as an underground mine to make sure it earns the social license to actually develop the project (an open-pit mine would likely be more difficult to get permitted), geologists and engineers need to see two things: grades and widths.

Significant intersections in UGA-17

A width of 19 meters is absolutely excellent. Forget about the narrow vein type deposits you can find in Mexico. Having a continuously mineralized zone over a length of 19 meters at those grades is excellent. And just to give you an idea: at $1750 gold and $22 silver, the gross rock value of that 19-meter interval is approximately US$295/tonne. Of course, you still need to apply the metallurgical recovery rates and perhaps a discount when selling the gold in concentrate to a smelter, but that doesn’t really matter too much with these grades.

The interval was encountered at a depth of 67 meters down-hole. That’s not the vertical depth from surface as the hole was drilled from an underground drill chamber but looking at the long-section we estimate the interval to be within 150 meters from surface. So in theory, it would be well within an open pit outline which makes it even more phenomenal but again, Sturec will be an underground project. A great start of the drill program, that’s for sure.

And MetalsTech continued to intersect visible gold elsewhere. Hole 18 was drilled not too far away from hole 17 and the results from both holes have already been received by the company.

We would like to draw your attention again to the long section of the Sturec project. While hole 17 could be seen as some sort of ‘infill’ hole to double-check the mineralization encountered in holes 5 and 10, hole 18 was actually targeting to fill in a ‘blank’ just on top of holes 13 and 14. As you can see on the image below, hole 18 is slicing nicely through a zone that is currently classified as ‘barren’.

Significant intersection in UGA-18

The headline results of hole 18 will for sure have made some heads turn. The drill bit intersected 1 meter of 646 g/t gold and 459 g/t silver within a broader interval of 6 meters of 109.82 g/t gold and 81.7 g/t silver. While the high-grade interval will obviously be capped in a resource calculation, it’s important to know that the remaining 5 meters in that 6-meter interval still have an average grade of 2.5 g/t which should be above a traditional cutoff grade for an underground gold mine.

As this ‘blank’ area also contains high-grade gold (and silver) mineralization, it’s pretty easy to understand the upcoming resource update at Sturec will likely be quite a bit higher than the current situation. And that’s a great position for the company to be in as it will add more credibility to the underground mining scenario. As you may remember, the resource update in June was still based on an open-pit scenario with only a small portion of the ounces classified as underground resource. This will now likely change as MetalsTech will fully focus on developing an underground resource and mining scenario.

High grade subset of 658Koz gold at 3.27 g/t Au within 1.5 million ounce resource

As a reminder, the current resources at Sturec stand at 1.52 million ounces of gold and just under 11 million ounces of silver in an open-pit estimate using a cutoff grade of 0.26 g/t gold. An additional underground resource estimate was compiled but this contained just under 150,000 tonnes at 3.55 g/t gold for just 17,000 ounces of gold and 60,000 ounces of silver. We expect the resource estimates to change dramatically later this year with a clear focus on developing a mineable underground resource.

Meanwhile, MetalsTech has completed additional metallurgical test work and the most recent program shows a total recovery of 91% of the gold and 88.4% of the silver using a relatively simple gravity separation and flotation approach (resulting in a concentrate with an average grade of 31 g/t gold and 80 g/t silver). That’s good news as you may remember MetalsTech’s plan is to produce a concentrate and ship the concentrate out of Slovakia for final processing. The concentrate grades reach the ‘sweet spot’ as the aforementioned grades would imply a payability of 96% for the gold and 90% for the silver. There may also be a small penalty payment for the arsenic content, but that penalty would be less than 1% of the total revenue per tonne of concentrate. With this additional metallurgical test work, MetalsTech continues to tick all the important boxes at Sturec.

Spinning out the lithium assets may be a good move in this red-hot market

MetalsTech is currently trading on an ex-div basis with regards to the spinout of Winsome Resources (WR1.AX) which has been the likely reason for the shares coming off of their 80c high and settling in the 40-45 cent range. The record date for the transaction was set at October 7th and anyone who bought the shares after the ex-date (traditionally one or two days before the record day) is not entitled to shares in the Spinco. The shares of Winsome Resources will start trading in November some time and although the pro forma value was set at A$0.20 when the IPO was priced, the lithium market is currently on fire so it will be interesting to see what level Winsome will trade at on its first few trading days.

Winsome Resources will be supported by the second largest shareholder of China Jushi, the largest fibreglass manufacturer in China. The production of fibreglass requires ‘clean’ spodumene concentrate (low impurities are required) so we can likely assume the large shareholder of Jushi is keeping its fingers on the Winsome pulse by taking an initial 9.9% strategic stake. This is along side North America’s Lithium Royalty Corp which has already committed $3 million to the float.

Seeing this new participant further increases the confidence level in the lithium projects owned by Winsome Resources, and those project clearly deserve a dedicated focus and finetuned exploration programs to unlock the value. Having a strong Chinese partner coming out of the gate could make the life of the Winsome management much easier.

Winsome Resources Portfolio

Chinese money for MetalsTech

Although Metalstech still has a respectable cash position after banking A$6.7 million in July from the sale of a royalty over the lithium assets, it’s never a wrong idea to add cash to the treasury. After all, MetalsTech is a non-revenue company and thoroughly exploring the Sturec project will continuously require more cash to be spent on the ground.

MetalsTech raised A$2M and the main takeaway is not the amount of cash raised, but where Metalstech found the cash. Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining, a Chinese company, has agreed to invest the A$2M by acquiring 5.88 million shares of MetalsTech at A$0.34 per share.

While Chifeng Jilong is not well known in the western world, the company has a market capitalization of approximately A$6B, which puts it in the same category as for instance Kinross Gold and B2Gold (on a market cap basis). Of additional interest is the Chairman of Chifeng Jilong, who has a history as CEO of Zijin Mining and chairman of Shandong Gold. Two better known Chinese companies that have dealt with western companies and projects on numerous occasions. Zijin Mining acquired Nevsun Resources in 2018 for its high-grade Timok copper-gold project while Shandong is well-known for its attempt to acquire TMAC Resources (TMR.TO) in Canada before political issues derailed that acquisition. And more recently, Shandong was in a bitter buyout fight with Russian outfit Nordgold to seize control of Cardinal Resources.

Chinese companies are always looking for M&A opportunities and although we don’t know too much about Chifeng Jilong, it is very encouraging to see Chifeng take an initial stake in MetalsTech. For them, an A$2M investment is peanuts but for MetalsTech it covers the cost of an additional 6-7,000 meters of diamond drilling.

The press release also contained an interesting additional clause: according to the agreement, MetalsTech will use ‘all reasonable endeavours’ to introduce Chifeng to potential sellers of MetalsTech stock. This would allow Chifeng to further increase its stake in MetalsTech. Keep in mind that as soon as Chifeng moves above the 5% ownership threshold, it will have to announce its stake to the exchange.

Conclusion

Keeping the environmental impact low will be the key to successfully developing the Sturec project. This means the company will focus on an underground resource which should result in an underground-only gold mine. The drill results of the current Fall drill program are very encouraging as the grades and widths of the intervals seem to indicate an underground mining scenario could work. The drill program is ongoing and more assay results can be expected over the next few weeks, but MetalsTech is very clearly off to a good start.

Spinning off the lithium assets in Winsome Resources is a good move as it will allow the market to rate and re-rate MetalsTech as a company with a dedicated focus on gold. The June resource estimate indicated Sturec contains in excess of 1.5 million ounces of gold and the current drill program will for sure add ounces to the June estimate. The main focus will be on the amount of ounces that will actually end up in an underground development scenario.

Busy times at MetalsTech and every additional update with fresh assay results will provide more useful information on the project while every additional hole further de-risks Sturec from a development perspective.

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Disclosure: The author has no position in MetalsTech. MetalsTech is a sponsor of the website. Please read our disclaimer.

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Dollar Dumps, Gold Jumps, Bitcoin Pumps To Record High

Dollar Dumps, Gold Jumps, Bitcoin Pumps To Record High

This could be the start of a problem…

Overheard at The Treasury…

Stocks were…

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Dollar Dumps, Gold Jumps, Bitcoin Pumps To Record High

This could be the start of a problem...

Overheard at The Treasury...

Stocks were mixed today with Nasdaq lagging and Small Caps leading. The usual chaos hit as the cash markets opened, Nasdaq decoupled (bearishly) as rate rose and then an ugly 20Y Auction spooked all stocks around 1300ET. There was no significant dip-buying off that dip and overall the market faded into the close...

The Dow and S&P pushed back up to their record highs but could not extend...

Value outperformed Growth today catching up on the week...

Once again, shorts were squeezed at the open but this time theu quickly ran out of steam...

Source: Bloomberg

Treasuries were mixed once again, extending yesterday's trend with the short-end bid and long-end offered (2Y -2bps, 30Y +3bps)

Source: Bloomberg

The yield curve (5s30s) steepened further today, erasing Friday/Monday's flattening (but seemed to stall at resistance there)...

Source: Bloomberg

The dollar continued its downward trajectory, falling to its lowest in a month...

Source: Bloomberg

But Cryptos were the headline-grabbers of the day as Bitcoin ripped to a new record high today...

Source: Bloomberg

...tagging $67,000 intraday...

Source: Bloomberg

Ethereum is back above $4000, taking out early Sept highs back to the highest since May...

Source: Bloomberg

BITO options volumes were dominated by short-dated deep OTM calls (gamma squeezing) with call volumes almost triple those of puts...

Source: Bloomberg

As BITO's price soared and it achieved $1bn in AUM in 2 days - which has never been done before...

Source: Bloomberg

Gold was also bid today as the dollar dropped...

WTI ramped to new cycle highs today after yoyo-ing around after API and DOE inventory data...

Copper rebounded after yesterday's efforts by LME to tamp down the backwardation...

Finally, Greed is back...

And Puts are hated...

Source: Bloomberg

"Probably nothing..."

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/20/2021 - 16:01
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