This page is archived news covering the period of February 2007
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Stainless Steel News & Nickel Prices

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February 2007

(Nickel prices are responsible for approx. 60% of the cost of stainless steel - see bottom for more)

Wednesday, Feb 28   Andalusia Day in Spain, Peace Memorial Day in Taiwan

 Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $20.14/lb - 3 month buyer - $18.55/lb. So, did someone wake up the bear from his four year sleep today? Not hardly! While nickel did finally get caught up in the decline in yesterday's stock markets, it is merely another dip in the middle of a mountain range. And the GPS map is showing no serious valley's nearby.  Nickel started this year, a mere two months ago, at $15.10/lb. And it started 2006 at $6.18/lb. So while today's closing may be a tad less than yesterday's, the market will have to get caught in a rock-slide before investors should get nervous, or nickel/stainless buyers can afford to get their hopes up. The bears will remain in hibernation, and investors will pocket their profits, or lick their wounds, and antey up again for tomorrow. Today, 3 month nickel ended at$18.77/lb ($41,390/tonne).(more)(more)

  JP Morgan to invest in Philippines mining sector - "US investment bank JP Morgan said Wednesday it is looking to finance major international mining companies that are expected to invest in the Philippines' reviving mining sector." -article here

  No Concrete Triggers Found for Chinese Stock Market "Black Tuesday" - "The Chinese stock market plunged almost 9% yesterday, which was the largest fall in a decade, and local media are now referring to the day as "Black Tuesday." However, securities analysts have found no concrete triggers for the slump so far." -article here

  High nickel price could damage demand - "THE fundamentals for the stainless steel industry remain strong, but the very high price for key ingredient nickel could prove to be a rationing factor in the sector, said LionOre CEO Colin Steyn." -article here

  OSHA revises standards on hexavalent chromium - "The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released at the end of October 2006 a revised standard that governs regulation of employee exposure to hexavalent chromium." -article here

  Chinese Stock Dive Buries Mining Stocks - "Mining companies such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto Group, and Anglo-American have scored bumper profits in recent years thanks to China's seemingly insatiable demand for copper, nickel, and other metals." -article here

  Stainless Basic Prices Under Pressure as Alloy Surcharges Soar -report here

  Norilsk Nickel to recoup OMG investment in 12 mths - Prokhorov - "MMC Norilsk Nickel expects to recoup what it invests in the acquisition of the nickel-related assets of the OM Group in a year, a press report in the city of Norilsk said, quoting Mikhail Prokhorov, the Arctic mining and smelting giant's co-owner and general director."  -more here

  At 9:30 am CST, indications show nickel is selling down by $.29/lb . In fact, all base and precious meals are down at this hour. Here is a round-up of all the world's major stock markets -here

  Metals Insider - Week in Review -here

  Spain's Acerinox 2006 net profit beats f'casts - "Spanish stainless steel maker Acerinox on Wednesday reported a 226 percent rise in net profit, beating forecasts, after a strong recovery in world stainless steel prices in the second half." -article here

  More articles about yesterday and today's market - "China casts shadow over commodities" -article here - "Miners walloped in record fall" -article here - "Chinese stocks recover, while Europe, other Asian markets still struggle" -article here - "Chinese Stock Dive Buries Mining Stocks" -article here

  Iron ore exports seen dented by new duty - (from article) - "Chidambaram added that an export duty of Rs 2,000 per metric tonne had been imposed on chromium ores and concentrates, which are used in making stainless steel.India's total iron ore reserves are estimated at about 23 billion tonnes." -more here  and "FM's levy of export duty on ore leaves miners sulking" -article here

  Indications at 7:45 am CST show nickel selling down by $.35/lb . Overnight stock markets in Shanghai recovered nearly 1/2 of their losses from the day before, and it will be interesting to see if other markets follow suit today. Does anyone remember the crash of '87? Notice any similarities? The brand new Fed chairman Greenspan opens his mouth, China panics because of something he says, the rest of the world plays follow the leader? We have a brand new Fed chairman again, but he isn't scheduled to talk until this afternoon. So who opened their mouth this time? Could it be the supposedly retired Greenspan. Ok, admittedly there are some big differences, but we could swear we have been down this road before. Most of the pundits and pontificators being interviewed over the last 24 hours, that we have watched, agree on one thing. The market has strong fundamentals and this is no more than a simple correction. Nickel appears to have finally buckled under the pressure, with some deciding to take their profits. If you purchase nickel or stainless steel, there is no reason to start the party though. The rocks that make up the stainless are still in short supply, and today's dip is probably no more than the normal up and down seen in a typical give and take market  (more)

  Behre Dolbear Global Mining News -pdf here

  Buoyancy in commodities market to continue - "The buoyancy in the commodity markets is expected to continue in 2007-08, witnessing larger volume and value of commodities traded, according to the Economic Survey 2006-07 released on Tuesday." -article here

  Metals go on correction mode - "After a sustained rally, metals basket showed early signs of a correction on Tuesday. Market analysts, however, believe that any such correction would be short-lived. The entire basket - especially precious metals - is enjoying a positive bias both technically and fundamentally" -article here

  Investors Don't Dig U.S. Mining Stocks - "Metals and mining stocks crumbled in Tuesday afternoon trading in New York, as the aftershock of the Chinese stock market earthquake shook investors' resolve." -article here

  NMCE launches new series for futures trade in base metals - "Futures trading in new series of aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc would begin on March one at the National Multi-Commodity Exchange (NMCE)." -article here

  Prony Energies, the power station built by of Calédoniens - "Whereas the building site approaches its last months, zoom on a local company, to which was entrusted the construction of this gigantic project. " -translated article here (Goro related)

  Xstrata Nickel and USW Local 2020 Reach Tentative Collective Agreement - "Xstrata Nickel announced today that the company's Sudbury operation has reached a tentative agreement for a new Collective Agreement with USW-Local 2020, Unit 6855, which represents Xstrata Nickel's Office, Clerical and Technical (OCT) employees. There are approximately 200 employees in the bargaining unit. The prior agreement expired on February 28, 2007." -more here  andanother

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 12 tons =   3,294 tonnes  (42.99% cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Feb 27  Dominican Republic Independence Day

  Today's official LME nickel closing - cash - $20.18/lb - 3 month buyer - $18.64/lb. While mining companies felt the pinch of the "stock correction" witnessed today, nickel and tin rode out the storm and finished higher. Greenspan's remarks in Hong Kong yesterday, along with the Chinese government taking new measures to slow that country's market, spooked the Asian markets into the biggest one day drop in a decade, with other world markets following. Bloomberg reported the sell-off wiped $107.8-billion (U.S.) in value from the Chinese market alone. A dismal US durable goods report released early this morning also added some fuel to profit takers fire, and some felt the explosion from a suicide bomber near the visiting US Vice President in Afghanistan, also shook some traders But nickel inventories, stocked in LME warehouses, fell overnight by over 6%, and traders of nickel held their cards close to their chests today and raised the stakes. Will they raise, hold, or fold tomorrow? We will have to wait to see, but today's 3 month nickel ended at$18.90/lb ($41,650/tonne) (more)

  Europe mulls: Is China the start of something big? - " A massive sell-off in Chinese stocks overnight took its toll on European equity markets on Tuesday, with investors wondering if this move could signal the start of a broader correction." -article here

  Some potential good news on the horizon for nickel and stainless steel buyers. In a news release on Friday, FNX Mining of Canada announced "Production plans call for a 42% increase in ore production in 2007 to 900,000 tons producing 12.7 million pounds of payable nickel,.... Most of the increase in 2007 production comes from the growing contributions from the nickel-rich ore at the (recently re-opened) Levack Mine." - more here 

  Japan's Sumitomo Metal nickel demand in China will grow 20% - "2006 nickel output has increased from 1.31 million tons to 1.36 million tons. However, due to the large demand in Asia, plans to increase sales this year by 10,000 tons to 1.37 million tons. Sumitomo Metal ores : "China needs the impact of the Asian region will be driven by consumption growth. "Sumitomo Metal mining official said : MB "China's demand for nickel has grown by 20% compared with the past few years, and we expect This data will be maintained in 2007." -translated article here

  Not nickel or stainless related- Alcoa CEO received $10 million in 2006 - "Alcoa Inc. Chief Executive Alain Belda, who led the aluminum maker through a year that saw revenues and operating income reach record levels, was awarded $10 million in total compensation in 2006, according to a company proxy statement filed Monday." -article here

  Metals - Base metals dip after strong gains; Chinese stock mkt dive weighs - "Base metals prices were lower as the market consolidated following recent strong gains and as the shock slide in the Chinese stock market sparked worries over near-term demand growth." -article here

  Quote from press release "Scotiabank Commodity Price Index retreats in January, as investment funds take profits in base metals" - "our expectations for a nickel 'super-cycle' also remain intact." -more here

  Nickel and stock price forecasts raised by Desjardins - "While a major decline in the Chinese Stock Market on Tuesday put pressure on metal prices given the country’s huge consumption, Beijing is likely trying to slow down its economy, not halt it altogether." -article here(and our list of all updated forecasts here)

  Kremlin Inc. To Grab Billionaire's Nickel Giant? - "Vladimir Potanin, chairman of nickel giant Norilsk Nickel, is considered one of the last remaining billionaire oligarchs of Russian's Yeltsin era -- but not for long. It looks as though the 45-year-old could soon find himself plucked from power by the acquisitive hand of the Kremlin." - article here

  Indications at 7:55 am CST show nickel selling down by $.09/lb . With former Fed chairman Greenspan stating the obvious, and telling a Hong Kong conference, a US recession was "possible", markets worldwide took a break from recent record gains, and paused to determine if he was hinting at something, or if he should return to enjoying his retirement in silence. Traders on the London Metal Exchange were no different, and will be watching US indicators being released over the next few days to determine just "how" possible a recession might be. In the next few days, the US market will see the release on new and existing home sales data , a revision in the 4th quarter of the GDP, and on Thursday industrial production data and jobless claims will be released. Stay tuned. Could be a bumpy little road this week.(more)(more)(more)

  Allegheny Ludlum Raw Materials Update -pdf here

  Rand Merchant Bank Base Metal Reports -pdf here

  Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. - Monday's Market Report -pdf here

  Canada Commodity Price Update -pdf here

  Commodity prices weather equity market slump - "Commodity prices were relatively immune from the large sell-off in equity markets triggered by fears of overvaluation and tensions between Iran and the US over the Islamic republic’s nuclear ambitions." -article here

  Asian Stocks Rise to Record for Third Day; Nikko Cordial Surges - "Asian stocks climbed to a record for a third day, led by commodity-related companies after prices of metals and oil rose." -article here

  OMG nickel business to boost Norilsk's production: Morgan - "Norilsk Nickel's acquisition of the nickel business of US specialty chemical company OM Group will help the Russian producer to increase nickel production, a senior official told a meeting of analysts in Florida Monday." -article here

  Scotiabank Commodity Price Index -pdf here

   Upturn in MEPS Global Steel Prices as Major Exporters Raise Offers - "At the end of January, Nucor in the US announced plans to put up strip mill transaction prices by $US20 per ton, effective with March shipments, due to "escalating costs and strengthening market conditions". Although we have noted some price improvement for hot rolled coil, customers are resisting paying more for cold rolled and coated steel. In general, although inventories at service centres are still high, they are getting closer to the desired level. Import offers are minimal." - MEPS report here

  The SLN pinned by the Northern province with Népoui - "The Northern province put the SLN in residence to proceed to a setting to the standards of its industrial facilities to Népoui. Aimed by this procedure: the machine shop and, especially, the laundry of Bernheim." -translated article here

  Mining firm says extraction limit changed - "A mining firm operating in Palawan said yesterday it can’t afford to extract nickel beyond the limitations set by the government." -article here

  BHP Billiton to invest $5,2m for 50% stake in Burundi nickel prospect - "The world's largest diversified miner, BHP Billiton, has agreed to spend $5,2-million on exploration on Dwyka Diamonds' Muremera nickel project, in Burundi, to earn a 50% stake in Danyland, Dwyka's wholly-owned subsidiary in the central African state, the junior miner said on Monday." -article here

  Cuba's trade booms with China and Venezuela - "Cuba's trade with China more than doubled in 2006 to nearly $1.8 billion, the Chinese customs office said on Monday, as the Communist-run island prioritized its new revolutionary partners China and Venezuela." -article here

  Oil and metals mark sharp upturn amid Iran tensions - "Oil and metals continued to surge Monday amid heightened global political tensions and mounting fears that demand for metals will outstrip supply." -article here

  Joint-venture with New Zealand kicks off nickel mining - "The Knight Piesald company from New Zealand has entered into a 35 million USD joint venture with a local partner to dig into nickel ores in the northern mountainous province of Son La." -more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 228 tons =   3,282 tonnes  (40.22% cancelled warrants)

Monday, Feb 26   Liberation Day in Kuwait

  Today's official LME nickel closing - cash - $20.00/lb - 3 month buyer - $18.63/lb. Following an optimistic ending last week, in anticipation of the return of the Chinese to the world market, traders entered today's trading with news that cancelled warrants had grown, overshadowing a small gain in physical inventory. It was kind of like someone pouring in a shot glass of water into a bucket, while someone else reserved a coffee cup full. If there was a lot of water in the bucket, it wouldn't matter much. But the water level in this particular bucket has been low for a very long time and forecasters aren't calling for rain anytime soon. With that in mind, trading of 3 month nickel ended the day at$18.73/lb ($41,300/tonne).(more)

  Scrap and metals theft problem moving from court houses to state legislative houses - articleshere andhere andhere

  The Year For Metals - "2006 was a great year for metals though very few things (except uranium) went straight up. Most commodities had larger price swings than the year on year numbers (impressive though they are) indicate. We don’t expect a repeat of that scenario for most metals in 2007. Price movements should be more muted than last year, and more individual, based on how balanced each metal’s supply-demand picture is." -article here

  (Comment - Got a lazy brother-in-law living on your couch? Print this for him) - Mining companies offer big money and benefits to cope with a dire shortage of workers - "Every time Sue Gogilis starts her shift driving the company truck, she gives her steering wheel a good rub with a few disinfectant wipes. Gogilis, 34, a mother of two, was a dental assistant until last May. Now she drives a mammoth dump truck at one of Rio Tinto's iron ore mines, hauling 230 tons of rock and dirt across the scorching Pilbara region in Australia's outback." -article here

  Brazil CVRD buys Australian AMCI coal miner - "Brazil's CVRD, the world's biggest iron ore miner, said on Monday that it bought Australia's AMCI Holdings in a deal worth a total of 835 million Australian dollars ($739 million)." -article here

  Norilsk sees 2006 net profit, dividend up -report - "The world's top nickel and palladium producer Norilsk Nickel may post a net profit made to International Financial Reporting Standards of $5 billion for 2006, Norilsk was quoted as saying on Monday." -article here

  National Australia Bank - Base Metals Monthly -pdf here
  Indications at 8:00 am CST show nickel is selling up by $.06/lb . Since Friday's trading ended at a record high, any gain today, will be in new record territory. The Chinese have returned to the market, and it will be interesting to see if their inventories of nickel are at "must buy" levels yet, as some suspect they are.(more)

  Nickel reaches record high - "Nickel hit a new record high Monday on worries about supplies, while aluminum rose to its best level since last May and copper held firm on expectations of stronger demand from Asia." -article here

  Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.- Market Report -pdf here

  Jyske Bank Commodities Morning Briefing -pdf here

  Sumitomo eyes $380-M nickel facility in RP - "Japan's Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd is planning to build a $380-million nickel processing facility in Surigao, officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said." -article here

  Profit of China's steel industry hits historical high - "China's iron and steel industry reaped record profit of 169.95 billion yuan (22 billion U.S. dollars) in 2006, rocketing more than 30 percent year on year, figures from the China Iron and Steel Industry Association show." -article here

  Blow of inch for the Korean project of the SMSP - "While exonerating the actors calédoniens nickel of the tax applied to certain appreciations, the government comes to soften considerably its position with respect to the project of the SMSP to build a factory in South Korea. Explanations." -translated article here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 18 tons =   3,510tonnes  (46.32% cancelled warrants)

Saturday, Sunday Feb 24-25

  Market amid bull run; focus on mining issues - (from article) "The Securities and Exchange Commission, in a move to protect the investors during a bull market and ensure the market's upward momentum, is reportedly evaluating the disclosures of listed companies, whose share prices have risen significantly, to determine if they are accurate and factual." -more here

  Information is power and for many companies in the metals industry, that information comes with a fee attached. Since this site is free, we only link to information/articles that has been made available to the public, without fee, or submitted to this site for publication to its readers. If you ever find one of our links leading to an article that has suddenly become available only to paid subscribers, please let us know, and we will remove it. We are also one of the few places offering free information, that attempts to comply with the copyright laws. If we see something that is subscriber based that we would like to make available to our readers, if we wait long enough, someone, somewhere will usually copy it and put it on a blog or a metals site. And while we won't 'borrow' copyrighted material ourselves, we might link to it, when we find it posted somewhere else. For instance, did you miss buying the report from Lehman Brothers January 2007 "Metals & Mining Monthly". If so, someone has posted it free(here). That said, there was an interesting article published on a password protected site that we found on an Australian blog today. Dated February 6,  and titled "Talk Of Nickel Substitution Can Be Dismissed" interviews Peter Johnston, who is now chief executive of the Australian nickel producer, Minara Resources. Makes interesting reading and the article can be found at the bottom of this page -(here) (for anyone considering switching to 201 stainless steel, please read this)

  We get a lot of questions about how the LME operates, and it can be very confusing to explain. So we have added two permanent links to the bottom of this page to help answer some of the more common questions. We have added "The ABC’s of a Metals Exchange" a presentation given in 2001 by James Eggins of WMC -pdf here and "A Guide to LME Data Trading of LME futures and options contracts" -pdf here and a common question from non-traders - what's the difference between selling short and selling long? - courtesy XpressTrade - "For those willing to incur the risk, you can profit from trading LME Metal Futures the same way as any other investment - by buying low and selling high. One difference with futures, however, is that it's just as common to sell "short" - to sell first, in other words - and then buy back later as it is to buy first, or "go long." With futures trading, if you think prices are going up, you simply establish a "long" (buy) position. If you think prices are going down, you initiate a "short" (sell) position."

  Palace reverses DENR on Palawan nickel mines - "Malacañang has given the Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC) the green light to resume its mining operations in Palawan six months after it was stopped by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources." -Article here

  Blurb from a Dow Jones Newswire story on Friday - " Traders said that although profit-taking could create a near-term pullback in nickel prices, the supply-demand balance means further rises are likely next week."

  Scrap Magazine Market Week in Review -pdf here

  Indonesian prosecutors reject Newmont defence case - "Indonesian prosecutors told a court on Friday in a high-profile pollution trial that the local unit of Newmont Mining Corp. dumped mining tailings in the sea without proper documents." -article here

  Arcelor, Mittal Sign Deals With Senegal - "Arcelor SA and Mittal Steel Co. NV, which have agreed on a deal to form the world's largest steelmaker, said Friday they have signed agreements worth $2.2 billion (euro1.68 billion) with the government of Senegal to mine iron ore in the West African nation." -article here  andanother article

  Got my copy of "Mine Your Own Business" last week. If you don't have a copy, and are interested in the mining industry, you need to see it. It is quite an eye-opener. Here area few links for you. First, the official movie site, with movie trailer, and how to order. (Official site here) Second a report by another video journalist about a confrontation between NGO's and the director -video here  and a debate between the director and a NGO spokesman on Fox -here and a report on Foxhere

  Mining bill likely to be passed next month - "The hopes of mining firms for major changes to the draft mining law appear to have been dashed after the House of Representatives decided to keep a number of controversial chapter unchanged." -article here

  Xstrata's Sudbury office staff OK strike mandate - "Unionized office, technical and clerical staff at Xstrata Plc's nickel operations in Sudbury, Ontario, have voted in favor of giving their union a mandate to strike should it reject a new labor contract offer from the company." -article here

  Mining company profit soars on Cuba nickel output - "Sherritt International Corp., a miner of nickel in Cuba, said fourth-quarter profit rose more than eightfold to a record because of surging metals prices." -article here

  Not only gold – base metals and uranium surging too - "What a week for metals commodity investors! This week has seen a big upturn in all the major traded commodities – even copper has pulled back dramatically from the recent slump which looks to have been overdone, while new records have been set for nickel, lead and uranium. The effect on commodity mining stocks has also been dramatic with gains on major exchange indexes again being commodity-led. Precious metals too, of course, have been strong with the gold price breaking through $680 again and silver through $14.50. Where will it all end?" -article here

  Countering terror in Poso - this pdf newsletter contains an article (on page 7) about the terrorist movement on Sulawesi, Indonesia (where many of the nations nickel mines are) -pdf here

  PRRM Conrado Benitez Institute for Sustainability has a report on their website from 2005 - while old, it does provide some good basic information about mining in the Philippines -pdf here or you can read it onlinehere

  InfoMine's Jack Caldwell has a personal blog called 'I Think Mining' here and InfoMine has a good page on "Mining Ethics"here

Friday, Feb 23 Republic Day in Guyana, Fatherland Defender Day in Russia

  Today's official closing LME nickel prices - cash - $19.60/lb - 3 month buyer - $18.09/lb. While closing prices are determined around noon London time, this left the afternoon for movement either way. And move it did! Nearly across the board, commodities got a lot of fund interest, and investment, today. Nickel was no exception, except that it reached a new all time record high. 3 month nickel ended the day and week at $18.51/lb ($40,800/tonne). Next week should prove to be interesting, with eyes turned to the Far East, to see when China will start buying, and how much they purchase. We wish you all a safe and relaxing weekend.(more)(more)

  Sherritt sees growth in Cuba - "Sherritt International Corp. (TSX: S) said Friday it expects growth to come this year through expansion of its power and metals mining projects in Cuba as well as coal projects in Canada, after doubling its full year earnings." -article here and Reuters "Sherritt profit soars on commodity prices, output"article here

  CVRD Inco to continue JV to explore Ni properties - "Nickel miner CVRD Inco plans to continue a deal to explore for nickel sulfides at Australian Mirabela Nickel's Santa Rita and Palestina areas in Brazil's Bahia state, Mirabela said in a statement." -article here

  Philippines says BHP to invest up to $1.5 bln - "The world's biggest miner, BHP Billiton, may invest up to $1.5 billion in a nickel project in the Philippines, the government said on Friday as it tries to revive hopes of a take-off in its metals sector." -article here

  Stainless steel prices hurting biofuels? - Biofuels Summit Set For Feb. 28 in Des Moines - "On Wednesday Feb. 28 in Des Moines at the Polk County Convention Complex the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association will hold a Renewable Fuels Summit. "This meeting going to cover where the industry is at and where we think it is going," says Monte Shaw, executive director of the IRFA. "We have a lot of exciting information to present." -article here

  Jaguar Nickel to move from mining to merchant banking, mesh with new board - "Jaguar Nickel Inc. (TSX:JNI) will shift its focus from mineral exploration to merchant banking after electing a board with a background in the investments industry, the company said Friday." -article here

  Making Money With Metals - "Once an investing idea becomes popular, Wall Street tends to jump on the bandwagon to give the public new methods of access to the latest fad. An explosion of new products follows, with financial institutions trying to cash in on all of the interest in the hot investment while it lasts." -article here

  Nickel closest thing to a true ‘war metal’ - "Sudbury was definitely going to be “nuked” by the Russians. At least that was our conclusion back in 1976 when I worked at CVRD Inco’s Clarabell Mill for a year." -article here

  The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article yesterday about mining called "Even Now, Big Miners Dig Away" - if you didn't see it, Mann Financial has a copy attched to the bottom of their daily report (found in our left column) -link here

  Indications at 8:00 am  CST show nickel trading higher this morning by $.30/lb . With much of China returning to work next week, it appears the market is betting they will be in a buying mood. There were some indications in the early part of the month that some in the Chinese market were holding off buying nickel until after the holidays, in the hopes the price would go down. That has proven to be a bad gamble so far, with only 1/2 day's trading left and prices up. If Chinese buyers did in fact let their inventories slip, then betting they will need to buy next week, appears to be a safe bet.

  Damstahl Stainless Steel Bi-Monthly Report -pdf here

  New commodity bull run tipped as metals advance - "Industrial metals gained ground in London and New York Thursday as demand increased amid fears of supply shortfalls, giving rise to suggestions that another commodity rally is around the corner." -article here

  Prices to put commodities in India budget spotlight - "With newspapers splashing food prices across front pages, India may seek to tackle rising inflation in next week's budget by further cutting duties on edible oils and extending a window for duty-free wheat imports." -article here

  POSCO to raise stainless steel prices - "POSCO Co Ltd, the world No 3 steel maker, will raise prices of stainless steel products by 240,000 won ($255.7) per tonne, or some 6 percent to reflect soaring nickel prices, a company official said on Friday." -article here

  Miners in forest areas to be required to pay up-front compensation - "In the latest effort to improve protection of the country's rain forests, the government will require mining firms operating in both plantation and protected forests to make an up-front compensation payment for the destruction of forest cover and to cover any environmental damage their activities might cause." -article here  and more in deptharticle here

  BHP Billiton May Invest Up To $1.5 Bln In Philippine Mining - "Mining company BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) is expected to invest $800 million to $1.5 billion in Philippine mining, including a nickel processing plant, environment secretary Angelo Reyes told reporters Friday." -article here  (more)

  Acesita sees positive stainless steel scenario in Q1 - "Brazilian specialty steel producer Acesita is optimistic about the stainless steel market scenario in the first quarter of 2007, following "quite" favorable market conditions last year, the company said." -article here and "Brazilian stainless steel consumption rose 18.8% last year to 268,072t compared to 225,597t in 2005, a spokesperson with the country's stainless steel development association Núcleo Inox told BNamericas." -article here

  Rio May Spend $2 Billion on Indonesian Nickel Project - "Rio Tinto Group, the world's third- largest mining company, may invest $2 billion, double an earlier estimate, developing its first nickel project in Indonesia to meet rising demand driven by steelmakers in China." -article here andanother article here

  Sherritt Reports Record Earnings in 2006 -report here  article here

  Kabanga under the microscope - "Toronto’s XSTRATA NICKEL and BARRICK GOLD have begun a prefeasibility study of their joint Kabanga nickel project. The property is located in northwest Tanzania, south of Lake Victoria and near the borders with Burundi and Rwanda." -article here

  Iron ore reserves must be preserved - "Sajjan Jindal, vice-chairman and managing director, JWS Steels, on Thursday said that according to a study, going by the present rate of iron ore exports, reserves of the ore would be exhausted in nineteen to twenty years even if exports were stopped immediately." -article here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 42 tons =   3,492tonnes  (34.71% cancelled warrants)

Thursday, Feb 22 People's Power Day in the Philippines, Unity Day in Syria, Independence Day in St Lucia, and GW's birthday in the US - no, George Washington's

  Today's official LME nickel closing - cash - $19.32/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.96/lb. With no clear direction, some traders chose to take their profits. The lingering question of falling inventories, kept the retreat of the day in check. 3 month nickel ended the day at $17.64/lb ($38,900/tonne) (or $1.21/troy ounce).  (more)

  Steel, coal, base metal prices down but not out: S&P - "Ratings Agency Standard & Poor's said Thursday that steel prices, although on the decline, are still high by historical standards, while coal prices are likely to stay at a level beneficial to credit quality, except for coal mined in the Central Appalachian region, where costs are high and operating conditions difficult." -article here  if you are interested in reading the S&P report "Metals & Mining: Prices: Down, But Not Out" - you can read thereport here (you must register, but it's fast and free)

  In case you missed it last weekend, we provide some research on Skye Resources and the Fenix Nickel project  in Guatemala (what the NGO's aren't telling you)here

  Indications at 7:45 am CST, show nickel selling down by $.07/lb. It's a stand off so far today, with the profit takers being held in check by another large loss in LME nickel inventories. If it breaks today, which direction it takes, and to what degree, has yet to be determined.(more) Extra - In our continued mission to bring you first rate and timely information worthy of the expense we charge for this service, we asked the Assistant Controller and Financial Analyst from Universal Stainless of Aurora, Colorado, for an in depth forecast of future worldwide nickel prices. Based on his years of training and expertise in 'econometrics', Burns Searfoss gave us this annual nickel price forecast for 2007. - "The price of nickel is going up, unless it goes down, otherwise it will stay the same"......We just hope you are as glad you didn't have to pay for this forecast, as we are that we didn't pay for it either. (note - if you are curious, Mr Searfoss did want to remind us that at $19.36/lb yesterday for the official cash closing, nickel is worth $1.33/troy ounce. We thank him for allowing us to use his forecast and his "precious metals" update.)

  The Year of the Pig and the Coming Trip to the Slaughterhouse - "While the Chinese celebrate the year of the pig, the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” crowd on Wall Street are fattening up their piglets with “Goldilocks “economic forecasts despite storm clouds on the horizon. TOUT-TV (CNBC-TV) continues to do its part in getting the piglets ready for the trip to the slaughterhouse even though the announced new FOX Business Channel may become reality in time to save some from becoming bacon." -opinion here

  Norilsk Nickel Gets 5-Yr $450M Revolving Credit Facility - "The loan was arranged by units of Barclays PLC , ING Groep and Societe Generale SA." -article here

  Goro Nickel: Mapou and Wamytan show the State of ecological complicity of disaster - "Raphaël Mapou and Rock Wamytan showed the State to be the “active accomplice of an ecological disaster” concerning the project Goro Nickel, that Domenica Voynet described as “cynical caricature of violation of the right”." -translated article here

  Indonesia agrees with Rio Tinto on mine contract - "Indonesia hopes to sign a contract with mining giant Rio Tinto Plc to develop an around $2 billion nickel project around the middle of March, the head of the state investment agency said on Thursday." -article here  andanother yet Rio denies an agreement has been reached -article here

  Dow Jones Newswire blurb - "Stronger than expected economic growth in Japan and Europe drives stainless steel production and strong nickel demand, says Bart Melek of BMO."

  Crude Steel Output to Reach 460m Tons This Year - "China expects to produce approximately 460 million tons of crude steel this year, a steady growth of 10 percent over last year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission." -article here andanother

  Producers, Consumers Alike Feel The Nickel Price Bite - "Record high nickel prices are starting to become problematic for producers and consumers alike, with the former facing credit issues and the latter being priced out of the market, analysts say." -article here

  World Bureau of Metal Statistics report issued Wednesday - Global nickel market experienced a deficit of 50,000 tons in 2006. 2006 mine production - increased 4.5% over 2005 to 1.409 million tons. Refined production - up 2.4% over 2005 with increases in output from Indonesia and Canada offsetting losses in Oceania. Demand for nickel - 78,000 tons higher than 2005.

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 480 tons =   3,450 tonnes  (45.74% cancelled warrants)

Wednesday, Feb 21  Ash Wednesday

  Today's official nickel closing prices - cash - $19.36/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.91/lb. The reported LME nickel inventory loss spooked the market again today, driving early morning prices to a new record high. Having reached this new peak, profit taking forced the price into a short retreat. It then spent the rest of the day bouncing back and forth, never quite reaching where it had started the day. It ended the day at $17.92/lb   ($39,500/tonne).  (more)(more)

  China’s Consumption Doesn’t Ensure a Continued Commodity Bull Market - "The market has knocked the stuffing out of many commodities of late." -more here

  EU Slaps Fine Against 5 Elevator Makers - "European Union regulators slapped their largest price-fixing fine ever - euro992 million (US$1.3 billion) - on five elevator makers Wednesday for operating cartels for the installation and maintenance of lifts and escalators in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands."(stainless related) -article here

  Ramu Nico begins to construct site facilities - "A FOLLOW-UP inspection of the Basamuk campsite showed that China-based Ramu Nico Management Ltd and contractor ENFI PNG Ltd have already started putting up workers’ facilities as imposed by the Labour Department." -article here

  Indonesian Mining law must provide certainty and equality - "Major mining companies versus junior mining companies -- there is a difference of opinion on how the current Indonesian mining law should progress, but both agree there needs to be two separate laws: one to allow long-life large-scale projects to proceed and one law for smaller projects." -more here

  Quote from Reuters report - ""Nickel is a very simple story -- all the disruptions to new projects have delayed a fresh wave of production," Gerard Burg, minerals and energy economist at National Australia Bank said. * "Demand for stainless steel remains strong and if stock levels continue to fall, there is potential for even higher prices. We are forecasting $35,000 a tonne for the year and there is every possibility that we are being pessimistic."

  At 7:55 am CST, indications were nickel was selling down by $.20/lb . LME nickel earlier today hit a new record high at $18.25/lb, the first time 3 month nickel has ever traded over $40,000/tonne. But profit takers decided to cash in after this new historical milestone was reached. With the rather dramatic drop in nickel inventories overnight, it is doubtful we will see any bears come out of hibernation anytime soon. (except for those who have been forecasting for 3 years now that nickel is going to fall. Someday, my friends - they will finally be able to say "we told you so". But not today.)(more)

  Reuters Metal Weekly -pdf here

  Quote from Asia Pulse Pte Ltd in Hoover's report - "The Indonesian Resources Company (IRC) has finished a feasibility study on merger of PT Aneka Tambang, which operates nickel, gold, and silver mines and coal mining company PT Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam and tin mining company PT Timah."

  Nickel/copper prices fluctuate - "The price of nickel and copper have undergone great changes this year compared to last year, BCL mine's General Manager Montwedi Mphathi has revealed. " -article here

  SL scrap metal export rules hit Indian units - "Sri Lanka's exports of scrap copper and other metals to India have been hit by wider security moves taken by the island nation as it tries to stop shipments of material that may be used in weapons." -more here

  Anglo American profit up 46 pct, to return $3 bln - "Anglo American Plc, the world's third-largest miner, said on Wednesday it would return $3 billion to investors as it posted a 46 percent rise in annual net profit, below the average forecast." -more here

  Followup - Russia imposes 3-year duties on European Union stainless steel - extended - "Russia, the world's fourth-largest steel producer, will impose three-year duties on stainless steel imports from the European Union to protect domestic producers from what it called dumping." -article here

  Specialty Metals Industry Group Releases Eleven-Month Market Data -pdf here  or "Global crude steel production up 13.5% on January 2006: IISI" -Platts article here

  Kanak Group Warns of Action over New Caledonia Nickel Project - "A New Caledonian Kanak group has warned of tough action against the territory's multi-billion dollar Goro Nickel project." -article here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 468 tons =  3,930 tonnes  (47.49% cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Feb 20  Carnival / Mardi Gras in much of South and Central America

  Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $19.44/lb - 3 month buyer - $18.05/lb. So, who were the idiots that said yesterday they saw very little chance of major movement in the nickel market this week? Oh yeah, that would have been us. If you have ever wondered what a bull on steroids acts like, just watch this nickel market closely. Today's market headed up shortly after the bell, and never looked back. Nickel closed at $18.05/lb ($39,800/tonne) (more)(more) Amazing what a 36 ton inventory decrease, a 2 point cancellation rate increase, and the return of the Yanks to the market will make, isn't it?  Today's extra - And, all kidding aside(well not entirely), we may have actually figured out a seedier side to why the Americans were buying today. Making more money is what trading commodities is all about. And while traders want to make as much money as they possibly can everyday, today might have had just a little extra sense of urgency to it, after this report hit the American press -article here

  Metals Insider - Week in Review -here

  Indications at 7:45 am CST were nickel was selling up by $.50/lb . And yes, that would be a new record high. Inventories of nickel stocked in LME warehouses slipped last night, and cancelled warrants (which represent warehouse stocks sold and due for delivery) increased again (see our first entry). With that kind of news, markets took off.(more) (We were asked yesterday if we knew what the all-time record high percentile in cancelled warrants for nickel was. We do not, but did find where in August of last year, it went over 60%.)

  Australian nickel miner Mincor's H1 profit quadruples to $41 mil - "Australian nickel miner Mincor Resources posted consolidated pre-tax profit of A$52.6 million ($41.4 million) in the first half period ended December 31, 2006, quadrupling year on year, the company said on Tuesday." -more here

  The Meek May Inherit the Earth, but not the Mineral Rights - "The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Group considers the world’s largest free trade pact" -more here

  Commodity investment seen at $120-150 bln by '08 - "Assets under management in commodity products may reach $120-150 billion by end-2008, according to a recent survey of 240 institutional investors conducted by Barclays Capital." -article here

  Behre Dolbear Global Mining News -pdf here

  Canada EDC Commodity Price Update -pdf here

  Mining law must provide certainty and equality - " Major mining companies versus junior mining companies -- there is a difference of opinion on how the current Indonesian mining law should progress, but both agree there needs to be two separate laws: one to allow long-life large-scale projects to proceed and one law for smaller projects." -article here

  Russia Slaps European Steel Producers with 3 Year Anti-Dumping Duty - "The Russian government has decided to impose a three-year anti-dumping duty of 840 per ton of steel with nickel content of 2.5 percent or higher imported from the European Union." -article here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 36 tons =  4,398 tonnes  (52.80% cancelled warrants)

Monday, Feb 19  Heritage Day in Canada, Democracy Day in Nepal, and President's Day in the US

  Today's LME nickel official closing prices - cash - $18.79/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.60/lb. We don't expect much to happen with nickel on the London Metal Exchange this week, with China all but shut down. Unless something newsworthy happens that affects supply, the markets will be watching LME inventory closely. There is always the outside chance that traders could start playing "Blind Mans Bluff" with each other, and force some movement in the market, but any major movement this week, is doubtful. Today, traders held their cards to their chest, and nickel ended the day at $17.55/lb ($38,700/tonne)(more)

  Blurb from Interfax - MMC Norilsk Nickel produced 244,000 tonnes of nickel in 2006, compared with 243,000 tonnes in 2005, the Arctic mining and smelting giant said in a press release.

  Mining companies looking for takeovers find prospects growing thin - "Mining companies, flush with cash from record metal prices, may be on the hunt for Canadian acquisitions to build scale or add new development projects, but the list of high-grade prospects is beginning to look thin." -article here

  Institutional commodity investors in for the long haul - Barclays Capital - "Institutional interest in commodities is here to stay for the long haul, according to a recent survey of 240 institutional investors conducted by Barclays Capital. Interest in commodities remains intact even though the nature of investment demand has changed, with institutional investors looking for more active, more selective investment products." -article here

  Rand Merchant Bank Weekly Base metals Report -pdf here

  At 7:50 am CST, indications show nickel is trading down by $.15/lb in quiet trading.

  Metals - Base metals markets quiet on Chinese, US holiday; lead hits all time high - "Base metals markets were quiet because of the Lunar New Year holiday in China and the Presidents Day holiday in the US, although most metals remained steady, underpinned by supply side issues." -article here

  Sumitomo Metal to boost nickel production by 2013 - "Major Japanese metals smelter Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. said on Monday it aims to nearly double its nickel output by 2013 to catch up with global majors such as Norilsk , the world's top producer." -more here

  Japan's Sumitomo Mining to build new nickel laterite plant in '09 - "Japanese nonferrous metal producer Sumitomo Metal Mining plans to build a new plant that will process laterite with nickel and cobalt content starting in 2009, to be ready for operation in 2012, the company said on Monday." -article here

  Funds in commodity markets are 'here to stay': Standard - "While the various fund players in the commodity markets all have different rationales and approaches, the funds are "here to stay," said Michael Skinner of Standard Bank base metals and sales. Speaking at the Platts Aluminum Symposium in Scottsdale, Arizona, in late January, Skinner said as a result of this investment, commodities in general would remain "stronger for longer." -article here

  Higher Metals Prices Ahead - "If there is any consensus among metals analysts it is that nickel and zinc should remain strong due to supply shortage, aluminium should falter due to excess Chinese alumina production, and copper should be unspectacular. Consensus also leans strongly to the bullish side for gold and silver." -article here

  Trout spawn mine battle - "Deep in the rugged hills of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a meandering river harbors giant fish that once thrived throughout Lake Superior and its tributaries." -article here

  Fox signs nickel, copper off-take agreement with Jinchuan - "Leederville-based mining company Fox Resources Ltd has signed an off-take agreement with China's Jinchuan Group Ltd, allowing Fox to sell a bulk concentrate of both nickel and copper." -article here

  Third Country Imports Push EU Domestic Steel Prices Higher - "Underlying demand for strip products remains healthy in most EU countries. Several producers are already talking of higher prices in the second quarter. Official announcements by some major players have still to be made. Certainly, import prices for third country flat products are now above those quoted at the beginning of the year." -more here

  Chinese state companies will follow a different path - "At present, China is the largest consumer of stainless steel in the world. Moreover, it uses it more, than the USA and Japan all together, which take the second place in consumption after China. It is expected, that in 2006 import of stainless steel into the country will make up 2,5 mln. t, nd export will achieve 500 thous." -more here

  Coking Coal Production Costs May Decline This Year, AME Says - "The cost of producing coking coal, a key raw material for steelmaking, may drop for the first time in five years because of falling royalty payments and increased operating efficiency, according to AME Mineral Economics." -article here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 282 tons =  4,434 tonnes  (50.88% cancelled warrants)

Weekend Review, Feb 17 & 18

  "What we discovered, no matter where our research led us, was it is hard to step into the middle of a mud fight, without getting dirty." - We tackle the Fenix project with our two cents worth. -here  

  Xstrata continues talks with Sudbury office staff - "Labor talks between Xstrata Plc (XTA.L: Quote, Profile , Research) and the union representing 215 office, technical and clerical staff at its nickel operations in Sudbury, Ontario, are focused on nonmonetary issues and contract language, the union said on Friday." -article here

  Xstrata outlines world class nickel sulphide deposit in Tanzania - "Xstrata Nickel will invest a further $95 million and commence a prefeasibility study to advance the Kabanga nickel project located in western Tanzania. An update to the preliminary resource estimate has also been announced for the project, a 50/50 owned joint venture between Barrick Gold and Xstrata Nickel, operated by Xstrata through a subsidiary." -article here

  Macquarie Research: China Commodities Weekly - "SHFE copper prices made strong gains last week helped by the surge in LME prices and reports of the strong recovery in Chinese copper imports in January. The SHFE copper front month contract climbed to Rmb55,610/t (US$7,129/t) at market close on Friday, a huge jump of Rmb2,240/t (US$287/t), or 4.2% from the previous week’s close." -article here

  China RoHS demands more from buyers - "Electronics buyers who think their companies' products will automatically comply with China's new Restriction of Hazardous Substances law because their products already comply with the European Union's RoHS legislation are in for a big surprise." -article here

  How about a little nostalgia? Here is a old clip from the US government archives on how steel is made -quicktime video here

Friday, Feb 16  Happy Chinese New Year to our Asian readers - we hope you enjoy your two week holiday! Peace and prosperity. And to our Central/South American visitors who may be taking an extended weekend - a Happy Carnival / Mardi Gras for Tuesday!

  Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $18.91/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.67/lb. Market was quiet in afternoon trading, with nickel ending the trading day and week at$17.65/lb ($38,900/tonne).(more) Hope you all have a peaceful and safe weekend!

  Cancer-heavy New Caledonia Launches Asbestos Study - "A major investigation is underway in New Caledonia to find out where asbestos, blamed for an unusually high rate of lung cancer on the French Pacific island territory, occurs in the environment." -article here  (comment - is there anything that nickel mines are not blamed for? If those who are performing this study, would prefer not to spend the next year of their life in a tropical paradise(uh-hum), albeit allegedly plagued by asbestos poisoning, here is the finding of a lung cancer study that has already been performed in Sudbury, Canada - "Based on the total number of deaths, the principal lung cancer excess in the cohort was for miners and surface workers. The attribution of the increased risk to nickel is questionable, given the evidence of a similar risk among other hard-rock miners with no exposure to nickel"study here On the same page, you will find a study on asbestos and mining. We just hope they don't get a bad case of sunburn while they are trying to save mankind. That causes skin cancer, we hear!!)

  China Reports 3.78Mt of Nickel Ore Imports Last Year - "China imported 3.78 million tonnes of nickel ore last year,a 6.8-fold increase compared with the previous year, according to statistics released by the General Administration of Customs." -article here

  At 7:50 am CST, indications were nickel was selling down by $.13/lb .  Tin and lead are setting new records today.(more) and(more) Trading shows no clear direction, so far today, and nickel could spike to a new record before days end, as easily as it could fall further. With China markets closed for the next two weeks, all eyes will remain on LME inventory levels.

  Follow-up to a headline we posted yesterday, the story  was finally posted - Changes In Nickel Mining Herald Permanent Price Rise - "Fundamental changes in nickel mining will mean permanently higher production costs, and pose more risks for slower ramp up, cost blowouts and environmental concerns that will keep nickel prices at high levels in the future, analysts say." -  article here

  Boost for Corrosion Resistant Materials Market - "The market for corrosion resistant materials is now capacity limited. New applications and growth in demand in Asia are causing shortages and extended delivery times for stainless steel, FRP, and other corrosion resistant materials and fabrications. This is the conclusion reached in the online, “World Market for Your Products”, published by the McIlvaine Company." -article here

  Commodities super-cycle not over, upward bias intact: Cr Suisse  - "The commodities super-cycle is not over and over the medium term commodities are likely to provide higher returns than the consensus forecast, Credit Suisse said Friday." - article here

  China again tightens grip on credit - "China tightened its grip on credit yet again Friday in an attempt to prevent a torrent of cash generated by record trade surpluses from fueling an unwanted rebound in capital spending." -article here

  BMO Nesbitt Burns "The Goods - a Report on Commodities" -pdf here

  China’s stainless output up by 68% in 2006 - "According to the Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprises Association, the stainless output in China has soared to 5.3 million tons in 2006, up by 68 percent." -more here

  Taiwan stainless to rise by $180~200/mt in March - "In February, Asian/Chinese stainless steel has been hiked by US$50 to 200 per ton in line with higher nickel cost." -article here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 162 tons =  4,152 tonnes  ( 52.86% cancelled warrants)

Thursday, Feb 15

  Today's official LME nickel closing - cash - $18.87/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.55/lb. Today was pretty much a repeat of yesterday, with inventories looking gloomy, and world economies sending positive signals. Nickel trading hit a new all time record high at $17.92/lb (3 month) and ended the day at that point -$17.92/lb ($39,500/tonne). Tin also hit a new all time record high on supply disruption concerns from Indonesia and the government seizure of the Glencore Vinto smelter in Bolivia, with aluminum coming in as the day's only LME loser.(more) and(another)

  Castillian Assumes Operator-Ship of the Mangabal Project in Brazil From Xstrata and Initiates US$2.5 Million Exploration Program -more here

  Courtesy and copyright Dow Jones - "Fundamental changes in nickel mining will mean permanently higher production costs, and pose more risks for slower ramp up, cost blowouts and environmental concerns that will keep nickel prices at high levels in the future, analysts say."

  We get a lot of visitors looking for nickel forecasts. While we follow these on the daily news, they can be hard to find later. We have added the January Reuters analysts survey tothis page and added a permanent link in the right column.

  Indications show today has started much like yesterday, with the price of nickel at 7:45 am CST selling up by $.84/lb.(more)

  Here is a more complete monthly commentary by GFMS from Monday -here

  Blurbs from China - "The average wholesale price of steel products in China, the world's largest user of the metal, rose 5.4 percent in January from a year earlier, the People's Bank of China said." - "China's State Information Center report is forecasting China's first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 10.2%" - "Baosteel Group Corp and rival Wuhan Iron & Steel Group are seeking iron ore projects in Australia to meet rising demand." -

  China's Jilin Nickel wants more partners in Nonoc plan - "Jilin Nickel Group, China's second-largest producer of the metal, would need to find more partners if it were to invest in the Nonoc project in the Philippines, a company official said on Thursday." -article here

  Nickel - Current Wochenkerzenchart (log) since November 2003 (1 candle = 1 week)(translated article here)

  Rusina Mining Announces Nickel Find In Acoje - Phillipines Project - "A maiden JORC resource of 33 million tonnes of nickel laterite grading 0.95% nickel and 0.07% cobalt has been announced for the Acoje project in the Philippines being developed by Australia's Rusina Mining Limited" -more here

  As commodities lose luster, S&P very positive on nickel and reasonably so on copper - "While there is no question that “commodity prices have lost their luster,” Standard & Poor’s analysts suggested Wednesday that “the average price curves for the next five years should be meaningfully higher than they were for the prior five years ending 2004.” -article here

  Albidon eyes trial startup at Zambia nickel mine - "Albidon Zambia on Wednesday signed a power supply agreement with Zambian state utility Zesco, which will enable the firm to start trial operations at its nickel mine, a senior industry official said on Wednesday." -article here

  A green charter for Koniambo - "The northern Province and Koniambo Nickel SAS signed, yesterday morning, an environmental charter to limit the environmental impacts of the project of the factory of North. A committee was created to take care of its application." - translated article here

  Two articles, same topic - "End of the affair for commodities" -(article here) and "Investors cut exposure to commodities" -(article here)

  EU alloy surcharges to hit new highs in March - "Most of European stainless steel mills including Ugine & Alz, Outokumpu, and ThyssenKrupp have announced to increase its stainless steel product price to smooth over their cost pressure from higher nickel price." -article here

  Xstrata Nickel Commits US$95 Million, Updates Resource Estimate and Commences Pre-Feasibility Study at Kabanga Joint Venture Nickel Project, Tanzania -press release here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 66 tons =  3,990 tonnes  ( 52.48% cancelled warrants)

Wednesday, Feb 14 - Happy Valentine's Day

  Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $18.27/lb ($40,275/tonne) - 3 month buyer - $16.92/lb. At first glance this morning, it appeared LME nickel inventories gained for a 7th straight day. But when we pulled up the cancelled warrants figure, our first reaction was "censored" (sorry miners - we buy stainless). The market apparently had the same reaction. At day's close, nickel on the London Metal Exchange ended at$17.00/lb ($37,475/tonne).(more)  (A look back - one year ago today, trading ended the day at $6.95/lb, with most analysts still forecasting 2006 averages to be in the $4.50 - $7.00/lb range. It actually averaged $11.01/lb. Inventories were at 36,186 tonnes, and after peaking on February 2, 2006, at 37,218 tonnes, would spend the remainder of 2006 in a slow gradual slide, most notably from June1 thru July 1, when nickel inventories stored in LME warehouses fell by 43%. Inco and Falconbridge had already extended their offer to merge twice, and Xstrata, Teck Cominco, Phelps Dodge, and CVRD had yet to make their move.)  

  Mine Mill, Steel families expected to buy big ticket items - "Greater Sudbury’s economy is expected to benefit from a huge influx of cash over the next few weeks when the men and women working for Xstrata and CVRD Inco cash their bonus cheques." -article here

  Courtesy /Copyright Dow Jones Newswire - "The hike in London Metal Exchange nickel canceled warrants highlights the likelihood of further declines in inventories in the coming days, says Calyon analyst Michael Widmer. "This is highly significant, because stocks are very low at the moment and the nickel market remains tight," he notes. But despite current upside momentum for prices in the short-term, the physical market will be rebalanced into a surplus in 07, implying prices will fall later in the year."

  DJ LME Nickel Inventories Key To Future Price Direction - "The market will continue to keep a close watch on nickel stock movements in determining future price direction, said traders, as critically low inventories and signs of further tightening in the near-term boosted London Metal Exchange nickel prices to an over one-week high Wednesday." -article here

  Chinese giant Jinchuan eyes tie-up with Lucio Tan firm - "CHINA’S largest producer of nickel and cobalt, Jinchuan Group Ltd., is doing a due-diligence study on a nickel mine site of tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan's MacroAsia Corp. in Palawan Island, MacroAsia told the stock exchange Tuesday." -article here

  Fix Ramu mess’ - "FOREIGN Affairs and Trade Minister Paul Tiensten yesterday appealed to the Government and Ramu nickel mine’s Chinese operators to discuss how problems uncovered at the mine could be addressed." -article here

  Indications at 8:00 am CST show nickel selling up by $.82/lb . Today's closing, which we post at 12:30 pm CST, will give today's "official cash closing" at over the $40,000/tonne mark. If you are wondering why the market is so high today, look at our first daily entry. You would think that a gain of 156 tons would be positive. And it would be, except if you look to the right where we have posted the cancelled warrants, you will see it jumped from 15.61% yesterday, to 53.98% today. For all practical purposes, this means inventory levels actually fell overnight, and quite dramatically. And the market is responding accordingly. Could we see a new record high today? Stay tuned.

  Amur Minerals says wins Russian nickel auction - "Amur Minerals Corp. has more than doubled its exploration area in the Russian Far East after winning an auction for a nickel, copper and platinum deposit, the London-listed company said on Wednesday." -article here

  Canadian firm lining up Philippine nickel deals - "Canada's Chemical Vapour Metal Refining Inc. (CVMR) is in talks with five Philippine firms to buy nickel ore and hopes to include China's Jilin Nickel Group in a possible successful bid for the Nonoc nickel mine." -more here

  New Caledonia law to leave ore exports unchanged - "The French territory of New Caledonia is unlikely to change nickel ore export regulations under a new minerals law that will be brought to a vote in the next few months, government officials there said on Wednesday." -article here

  Behre Dolbear Weekly Global Mining News -pdf here

  Metal Merger Mania - "Whether or not BHP Billiton or Rio Tinto buys Alcoa for $40 billion as the stock-market rumor machine has it, a deal of that scale in the metals industry is a question of when, not if." -article here

  Source - "The specialists of the World Bureau of Metal Statistics announced the nickel on the world market in the first 11 months of 2006 amounted to a 80 ton deficit."

  BHP boss ripe to head Alcoa break-up - "THE most obvious catalyst for any takeover bid for US aluminium giant Alcoa is likely to be a break-up of the company to focus on alumina and smelting, and ironically BHP Billiton chief Chip Goodyear has just the right track record to do the job." -article here

  Chinese stainless flats prices down before Chinese New Year - "Due to sluggish market and low demand, the stainless flats price is likely down before Chinese New Year Holiday." -article here

  CVRD sees limited potential to expand in Russia - "Brazil's CVRD, the world's largest iron ore miner, is studying partnerships with steel makers in Russia but does not view the country as key to its expansion, a senior company executive said on Wednesday. Peter Poppinga, senior managing director of CVRD International S.A., told a metals conference that Russian steel mills were meeting a large part of the country's growing consumption by reducing their own exports." -article here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 156 tons =  3,924 tonnes  ( 53.98% cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Feb 13

  Today's official LME nickel closing - cash - $17.51/lb - 3 month buyer - $16.42/lb. Traders were in a buying mood, convinced yesterday's drop was unjustified and today's nickel cost a bargain. LME nickel, caught up in the buying frenzy of other metals, ended the day at $16.33/lb ($36,000/tonne) (more)

  Jinchuan Group surveying MacroAsia's nickel mine site - "China's largest nickel and cobalt mining company has started conducting due diligence studies on the nickel mine site MacroAsia Corp. in Palawan." -article here

  Antam and BHP Billiton Establish an Alliance to Develop Halmahera Nickel Deposit -press release here

  Solve the problem of non-ferrous metal mineral resources urgent crisis - "Sustainable development of China's nonferrous metals industry is facing a serious shortage of mineral resources in the severe challenges." -translated article here

  Mining investment in the Philippines is expected to reach 07 years of 348 million dollars -translated article here

  China is facing a shortage of cash nickel - "According to Hong Kong on February 8 news, traders said Thursday that Shanghai spot for imports and reduce the supply of nickel refining. while demand remained strong." -translated article here

  China 2006 steel statistics for 2006 from Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprises Association - Crude stainless steel production increase 2.14 million tons (68%) over 2005 to 5.3 million tons (#1 in world). State holding producers increased production by 50%, while private enterprises' production increased 81%. Imported 20.13% less (2.501 million tons), exported 122.64% more (904,000 tons). Consumption 5.95 million tons, 730,000 tons (14%) more than 2005. Per capita consumption grew to 4.6kg.(source)

  Fortis Metals Monthly - February 2007 - pdf here

  At 8:00 am CST, indications show nickel is selling up by $.46/lb, and recovered most of yesterday's loss.(more)

  Rand Merchant Bank Weekly Base Metals Report -pdf here  (different than the monthly issue posted yesterday)

  Canada Weekly Commodity Price update -pdf here

  China uncovers huge mineral resources in Tibet - "China has discovered huge resources of vital minerals buried in the Tibetan plateau, locating more than 600 potential sites for new mines, according to state media reports." -article here

  Outokumpu to sell Hitura mine to Belvedere Resources  -press release here

  Russia's 06 Nickel Export Dn 0.7% On Yr, But Worth 66% More - "Russia exported in 2006 259,800 metric tons of nickel, a fall of 0.7% compared with 2005, the federal customs service reported Tuesday." -article here

  China becomes world's largest stainless steel producer - "China's stainless steel output jumped 68 percent year on year to 5.3 million tons, ranking the first in the world, according to figures released by the Chinese Special Steel Association." -article here (this has been well known since December 06)

  Fox Resources returns to nickel production - "Fox Resources Limited has completed a placement of 8 million shares to raise $10 million." -article here

  Base Metals – The fundamentals still matter - "Despite the inflated level at the start of 2006, base metal prices posted an extraordinary price performance last year. We believe that the relative price performance fairly reflects the fundamentals of the individual metals. Supply side factors have been the main driver behind the surge in lead, tin and zinc prices, while nickel has benefited from the sharp rebound in demand as well as by a structural supply shortfall." -article here

  Chinese imports of nickel ore to surge - "Atlas Consolidated Mining & Development Corp has said it plans to ship 45,000 metric tons of low-grade nickel ore from the Philippines to China this month, more than doubling January's exports to the world's biggest consumer of refined nickel." -article here

  BHP Billiton not currently eyeing Alcoa - source - "Mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. is not currently working on a bid for U.S. aluminium producer Alcoa Inc, a source close to the matter said on Tuesday, playing down a newspaper report." -article here (this is in response to this) "Alumina shares rocket on BHP bid talk" -article here

  Stainless price to keep strong for exports but weak in Taiwan - "In response to the continuously ongoing rise of the cost of nickel, the stainless price keeps at the high level in the market." -more here

  Tisco to up stainless price by $100 to South Korea - "China's Taiyuan Iron & Steel Corp (Tisco) has announced to raise stainless steel export price to South Korea for April shipment again." -more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 18 tons =  3,768 tonnes  ( 15.61% cancelled warrants)

Monday, Feb 12

  Today's official LME closing prices - cash - $17.42/lb - 3 month buyer - $16.37/lb. Nickel ended the trading day on the London Metal Exchange at $15.79/lb ($34,800/tonne).(more)

  Nickel production in China 2006 total = 107,677 metric tonnes (+13.05% over 2005) (more China stats in yesterday's news)

  Metals Insider - Week in Review for nickel -here

  FinMetal Signs Major Agreement - Positions Company to Acquire One of the World's Largest Portfolios of Advanced Nickel Projects -press release here

  Precision Machined Products Association - Material Impacts Report - February 2007 -pdf here

  Newmont’s Ness tells of Indonesian court ordeal over gold mine tailings pollution charges - "Seven years ago, villagers from around Indonesia’s Buyat Bay were paid to travel to Berkley, California, for NGO-sponsored training on anti-mining organizing." -article here

  At 8:00 am CST, indications were nickel was selling down by about $.08/lb. Tin seems to be getting all the attention today(more here)

  Good News For Zinc, Bad For Nickel - "The zinc price is down over 20% in 2007 and some 34% below the November high. Notwithstanding the investment fund scare earlier in the month, zinc has drifted lower since the beginning of the year as a result of a build up of stocks at the London Metals Exchange." -article here

  Monthly World Steel Statistics - by American Iron and Steel Technology - February issue -pdf here  

  Rand Merchant Bank - Monthly Base Metals Report - February 2007 -pdf here 

  Institute of Scrap Recycling - Market Report -pdf here

  European Nickel PLC - Signs Offtake Contract with BHP -pdf press release here

  SA Mining production down - "South Africa’s mining production declined 1.1% in 2006 compared with 2005, Statistics South Africa says." -article here

  China Commodities Weekly - Slowing fixed asset investment in steel sector - "SHFE prices came under downward pressure last week due to continuing increases in LME stocks. The SHFE front month contract fell to Rmb53,370/t (US$6,842/t) at the market close on Friday, a fall of Rmb1,280/t (US$164/t), or 2.3% from the previous week’s close." -article here

  Activists Hint At Renewed Attacks In New Caledonia Nickel Project - "New Caledonian activist group Rheebu Nuu has hinted at renewed attacks against Companhia Vale do Rio Doce's (RIO) Goro Nickel project and vowed to continue legal action against the development the 60,000-metric-ton nickel project, Rheebu Nuu's secretary general said Monday." -more here

  China's Jinchuan to conduct study on MacroAsia's mine - "China’s Jinchuan Group Ltd. said Monday it has fielded mining experts to Brookes Point in Palawan to study MacroAsia Corp.’s nickel mine site." -article here

  Japanese consumers bracing another record-breaking stainless hike -more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 72 tons =  3,750 tonnes  ( 18.72 % cancelled warrants)

Weekend Review, Feb 10-11    (Join our new forum)

  Tension in Bolivia, Africa to lift metals - "POLITICAL issues are set to provide support for metal prices this week, despite rising copper stocks weighing on sentiment." -article here

  Jinchuan Lifts Nickel Price to CNY315,000 per ton - "Asia's biggest nickel producer Jinchuan Group raised nickel price to CNY 315,000 per ton on February 1." -article here

  Rock to heavy metal mania - "Companies which sell commodities are hostage to global price trends. Only the very large are capable of influencing price trends and there aren’t many companies in that category. The scenario in India is no different, with fortunes fluctuating along with prices. Thus, the steel sector saw a mediocre year in ’06, while the non-ferrous sector reaped the benefits of a booming metal market." -article here

  Quarterly Commodity Price report by TD Economics -pdf here

  China's neo-colonial slavery in PNG - "The new superpower still has some lessons to learn in overseas investment, writes China correspondent Rowan Callick" -article here

  New link - US Stainless Steel Surcharge Historyupdated page here

  S. Korean consortium wins Madagascar cogeneration power plant deal - "A South Korean consortium has been selected to build a cogeneration power plant at a large nickel mine in Madagascar, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said Sunday." -article here

  Blurbs and news from China - "China's recycled non-ferrous metal output in 2006 grew 21% over 2005 to 4.53 million tons, according to statistics by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the state economic planner." "State Statistics Bureau show that China's nickel imports were up 7.8% in 2006 and reached 97,324 tons. This shows very strong domestic demand" "China's Stainless Exports Pushed to 852,000T in 2006" "China's largest non-ferrous metal scrap imports of the five countries are : Japan (2.01 million tons). the United States (1.08 million tons), Australia (USD 830,000 tons), Spain (550,000 tons). the Philippines (520,000 tons). "Industry sources say that with China's restrictions on the export of metal products, ferro molybdenum prices have remained stable." "China became the world's largest stainless steel producer in 2006 with an output of 5.3 million tons, up 67.68 percent year-on-year." "China produced 418.78 million tons of crude steel last year, a rise of 18.48 percent year-on-year, and its output of pig iron was 404.17 million tons, up 19.78 percent year-on-year. China's apparent consumption of crude steel amounted to 384.05 million tons last year, accounting for 30.98 percent of the global total." "According to sources in Manila on February 8. Philippines Mines and Geology (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) data show Philippine nickel output in 2006 is more than double 2005's, ....Philippines nickel output of nickel grew to 59,139 tons in 2006" "Analysis of the national steel production in 2006" -(article here) (comment - China's two week Spring Festival (New Year's holiday) begins on the 18th and we are seeing reports in Chinese media that reports Chinese nickel buyers are holding off purchasing and stockpiling nickel, worried the price may drop during this period. If what we are reading is true, we could see some major purchasing activity from China, when they return from the break. It is the Year of the Pig.)  

  CVRD Inco donates to food bank - "The newly elected president and CEO of CVRD Inco says the people of Greater Sudbury can “expect to see very little change” with how the mining company is run." -article here

  BHP's accidental hero heralds the ascent of India - "THERE is something inspirational in Chip Goodyear's decision to quit BHP Billiton." -article here

  Dartmouth Toxic Metals Research Program - (don't let the title scare you. They have some very interesting articles) "Nickel: Hidden in Plain Sight" -(here)  "What are Metals" -(here)

  Stainless Steel Wire Rod from the Republic of Korea: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review -here

  Some of the current anti-dumping rulings on stainless steel fasteners worldwide - Europe against China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam beginning in 2005pdf ruling here  Canda against numerous entitiesruling here

  Metals correction not over: fund - "Commodity markets were expected to be volatile in 2007 and a further downside correction in base metals is likely, Julian Rigby, Managing Director of AMT Futures Limited told Reuters in an interview on Friday." - article here  (comment - our new definition of "volatile" or "volatility" - a term used to describe the metals market without regard or consideration for actual market activity; to explain the market conditions should the price have changed from the prior day, up or down; and to ensure any forecast of future market activity is qualified with a really big "but it's volatile". Used by analysts when describing the metals trading market, when one has no idea what is going on, why it is going on, or what is going to happen. A term used describing price changes from "barely noticeable" to "it really hit the fan today". The term is seeing such overuse, we suggest that the London Metal Exchange consider changing their name to London Metal Volatility Index - it would save the readers a lot of time! Author's note - my Italian wife is volatile - this market is kid's stuff!!)  

  (Comment - So! How would you punish a billionaire for embarrassing your company? Take away his partnership in a nickel mine and give him ownership of a gold mine!) "Mikhail Prokhorov, the co-owner of MMC Norilsk Nickel and Polyus Gold , could receive control of Russia's No. 1 gold producer under the asset split between the owners of the Interros holding, announced last week." Copyright - Interfax News Agency 

   Bolivia's Morales nationalizes Glencore smelter - "Bolivian President Evo Morales nationalized a tin smelter complex on Friday, the latest step in his drive to increase state control over the impoverished country's abundant natural resources." -article here (comment - not directly nickel related but worth noting. Leftist candidates are winning South and Central American elections more often than they are losing recently. All mining projects on the continent could be in jeopardy - someday.) 

  Westpac Sees Commodities Prices Falling In December Half - "Yesterday ANZ Banking Group suggested investors buckle up in preparation for increased volatility in commodity markets this year. Today Westpac Bank has followed suit, but with a more negative view on the price outlook in the sector." -article here

  Another film about Skye's Fenix Project - a different perspective to last weeks video on what is going on in El Estor -video here (comment - we are considering writing an in depth article on this nickel project. While we have our own concerns about what is happening here, we are noticing that many so-called "activists", that have suddenly taken up fighting this project as their "cause", are not doing their homework and blaming Skye for a lot of stuff that is not their fault. Need an example? -Skye traders forum here) (Update - we may hear a lot more about this project in the coming months. The White House announced this week that President and Mrs Bush will be making a trip to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico in March. While Skye and CVRD/Inco are not US related companies, they may get drawn into the "imperialist accusations" that are sure to come.)  And for those who have strong feelings about the video taped evictions that we linked to last week, here are a couple of articles worth reading(article part 1)(article part 2) (comment - we find it interesting that some of these civilians had just moved onto the property. Opinion - In a nutshell, it appears that much of the strife here is being cause by history. A brutal past of the government of Guatemala attempting to control indigenous Mayan's in the area, thru murder and genocide. After years of strife between the two, and more bad feelings caused by actions committed by the former mine operator, Skye has stepped into the middle of a mess. With millions already invested, and a government that wants the project to proceed, public relations with the local Mayan population, while a greased tight rope of complexity, becomes paramount to success.)

  Very interesting site - Don't miss the "Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of world events?" - link here

  NY Review of Books - Europe vs. America - very interesting article listing some major differences between Europe and the US.

  Not for dissemination or distribution in United States. Add a bookmark if you want to review it - Credit Suisse Research Weekly  published each Friday (good info on metals) -pdf link here  

Friday, Feb 9 (5 days remaining until Valentine's Day. If you haven't bought flowers yet, watch thisvideo and don't say we didn't warn you!)

  Today's official closing prices for nickel - cash - $17.46/lb. 3 month buyer - $16.33/lb. The bulls were hungry this morning, but by mid-day they had had their fill and rested. At days end, LME nickel closed at $16.37/lb ($36,100/tonne).(more) We will have a weekend update, if the forecasted 4th major ice storm of the winter doesn't knock us offline again. Have a safe weekend!

  Headline only - Mitsui, Sojitz To Invest $51mn Each In Philippine Nickel Ops - TOKYO (Nikkei)--Trading houses Mitsui & Co. (8031) and Sojitz Corp. (2768) each plan to invest about 51 million dollars, or about 6.2 billion yen, in a Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. (5713) project to increase nickel smelting capacity in the Philippines. (courtesy Nikkei Net) (comment - without paying to read this article, this should have to do with the Coral Bay Nickel Project at Rio Tuba, which is backed by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. 54%, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. 18%, Sojitz Corporation 18%, and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation 10%. This is strictly an assumption on our part.)

  Few days old - Trial date set for CVRD Inco - "A trial date in October has been set on charges filed by the Ministry of Environment against CVRD Inco relating to an incident in Greater Sudbury one year ago." -article here and  Mining job market hot - "Representatives from CVRD Inco gave their best sales pitch Thursday as they talked to about 100 Cambrian mine technologist and geology students about job opportunities at their company." -article here

  Headline only - Reuters - "Philippine 2006 nickel output more than doubles in 2006"

  Indications at 8:00 am CST reflect nickel selling up by $.24/lb.(more)

  China's ferromoly prices steady; quota system on the way: sources - "Spot ferromolybdenum prices in China are holding steady now quoting at $61-62/kg CIF Rotterdam as trade has ground to a halt ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays from February 18-25, local industry sources said this week." -article here

  After Nonoc, Jinchuan turns to GeoGrace’s nickel - "Mining firm GeoGrace Resources Philippines Inc. is negotiating with Chinese giant Jinchuan Nonferrous Metals Corp. on a joint venture involving its nickel mining rights, a source in GeoGrace said." -article here

  BHP Billiton aims to hire overseas staff for delayed nickel mine - "BHP Billiton (BHP) wants to hire hundreds of overseas workers as the global miner tries to avoid further delays at its US$2.2 billion Ravensthorpe nickel development in Western Australia." -article here

  GlobeStar Discovers New Nickel Zone in Dominican Republic Including 13 Metres Grading 2% Nickel -press release here

  Economist Hale warns possible U.S. hedge fund crisis may hurt commodities - "U.S. Economist David Hale warned Thursday that a crisis in the New York hedge fund community over the next few months could cause a larger than “moderate” fall in commodity prices." - more here

  Copyright and courtesy Dow Jones Newswire- Price Volatility Expected For LME Nickel - "LME nickel prices are well supported by a nickel supply deficit as well as large funds holding short positions, says a trader. Current LME stocks at 3678 metric tons comprise roughly one day's worth of global nickel consumption. The first trade for the day was seen at 0900 GMT, trader says, "indicating that market participants are too scared to buy and too scared to sell the metal." LME nickel trades at $35,975 a metric ton, up roughly 1.5% from Thursday. "I expect further price volatility as the US enters the market later in the day," trader notes.(LYT)"

  Stainless steel plant begins trial run - "Lianzhong Stainless Steel Corp, which owns the largest Taiwanese-funded stainless steel mill in South China, started a trial run of its new plant in Guangzhou yesterday." -more here

  Canada's CVMR confirms interest in RP's Nonoc - "Privately held Chemical Vapour Metal Refining Inc. confirmed on Thursday that it intends to make a sizable investment in the Philippines and said it is in talks with Philnico Industrial Corp. about reopening the mothballed Nonoc nickel mine there." -article here

  Koniambo Nickel puts the coral solid mass under monitoring - "For six months, a team of plungers of the GIE Mélanopus, elected by Koniambo Nickel SAS (KNS), has observed the evolution of the lagoon between the south of Koné and the north of Voh. Objective: to study the coral medium from the point of view of construction of the factory of North." -translated article here

  Chinese mine treating PNG workers 'like slaves' - "LOCAL workers building China's $1billion nickel mine in Papua New Guinea are being treated like slaves and paid just $4 a day, according to PNG Labour Secretary David Tibu, who is threatening to shut the site down." -article here

  Newmont trial in Indonesia postponed for two weeks - "An Indonesian court hearing due on Friday for a high-profile pollution trial involving U.S. firm Newmont Mining Corp. has been postponed for two weeks, officials said." -article here

  Ramu’s tailings plan a concern - "The possible impacts of the submarine tailings disposal of tailings from the Ramu nickel mine could have a major effect on the commercial fishery in the Madang Province. An expert in environmental management and development looks into the problem." -article here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 24 tons =  3,678 tonnes  ( 18.43 % cancelled warrants)

Thursday, Feb 8

  Today's official closing nickel price - cash - $17.18/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.83/lb. The biggest one day nickel inventory gain in months had a sobering effect on the market today, and prices fell to end the day at $16.08/lb ($35,450/tonne).(more)

  Norilsk expects OM Group deal to close March 1 - "Norilsk Nickel said on Thursday it expected to close the $408 million deal to buy the nickel assets of U.S.-based OM Group on March 1 after receiving regulatory clearance." -article here

  Philippine's News - "Mining firms start operations" -(article here) and "Canadian firm keen on investing in Nonoc mine" -(article here) and "Jinchuan woos RP mining firm" -(article here)

  Base Metals are Melting Off the Speculative Froth - "We spent a few hours mid-day yesterday listening to best - selling author and world-renowned commodities bull Jim Rogers speak at a lunch sponsored by UBS." -article here

  Chinese mine treating PNG workers 'like slaves' - "LOCAL workers building China's $1billion nickel mine in Papua New Guinea are being treated like slaves and paid just $4 a day, according to PNG Labour Secretary David Tibu, who is threatening to shut the site down." -article here

  Commodity speculators prefer U.K. regulation to U.S. - "British commodities bourses have a big advantage over American rivals when competing for business: Britain has no law saying speculation is a bad thing." -article here

  More BHP - Goodyear: A Combination Of Skill And Luck - "When mining giant BHP Billiton announced on Wednesday that Chief Executive Chip Goodyear would retire from the company by the end of 2007, the company's chairman, Don Argus, said Goodyear had played a "key role" in the transformation of the company since 1999. " -article here  and BHP to gear up its war chest? - "BHP Billiton could raise $11.6 billion in debt to help put together a war chest to fund takeovers, analysts say." -article here (comment - not sure we agree with the statement by Credit Suisse about Norilsk potentially being a takeover target for BHP. The news out of Russia lately implies it's "hands off" to foreign owners of strategic assets - you can't get much more strategic than Norilsk. And if they want to make a move on Phelps, they'll need to move soon. The Phelps-Freeport merger vote is scheduled for March 14th)

  Mining Manpower Crisis - "There is a manpower crisis in the form of a skilled worker shortage that is having an adverse impact on the mining industry. Whatever one is interested in, be it gold, silver, platinum, uranium, base metals, or other mining operations, this situation is impacting on all forms of mining. It will influence the way investors view mining companies. Current mining operations will struggle to maintain production while new projects will be delayed." - article here

  ThyssenKrupp Announces Finalists for New $2.9 Billion State-of-the-Art Steel and Stainless Steel Manufacturing Facility in the United States Alabama and Louisiana in Final Consideration -article here

  Indications at 7:45 am CST show nickel is selling down by $.54/lb. Markets are obviously spooked by the 15% increase in nickel inventories overnight, with many beating the worst may behind us... at least for this go around. (more here)

  ScotiaMocatta Metal Matters Monthly -pdf here

  Recycling International - Market analysis: Nickel and Stainless, January-February 2007 -pdf here

  Jyske Bank Commodity Morning Briefing -pdf here

  Metal price slide is no threat to long-term returns - "Cape Town - Sliding prices of metals like copper have not dimmed the enthusiasm of investors pouring money into new mines, who are betting a dearth of big new projects and healthy Chinese demand will support prices well above long-term averages." -article here

  Commodity indexes fall as investors grow more active - "Most of the major commodity indexes showed losses in the first month of 2007, in line with a deep sell-off across the asset class and as the focus switched to other ways of investing in raw materials." -article here

  Xstrata Sudbury in office staff contract talks - "Labor talks are going on between Xstrata Plc and the union representing office, clerical and technical workers at the company's nickel operations in Sudbury, Ontario, the company said on Wednesday." -article here

  S&P: Market conditions remain strong for base metals, bulk commodities - "In their recently issued industry report card, Standard and Poor’s credit analysts advised that market conditions remain strong for mining groups active in base metals and bulk commodities." -article here

  GFMS Metals Consulting Nickel Monthly Market Analysis -here 

  China minmetals group may withdraw from the project nickel from Cuba - "February 7 : The government of Venezuela on China minmetals group. Camarioca nickel projects in Cuba, Holguin 49% of the shares to take over the region. There are a few more question has not been fully answered." -translated article here

  Mine lacks plans - "THE developer of the Ramu nickel-cobalt mine has not finalised a mine development plan or even a pre-construction plan. And it cannot construct anything, Mining Minister Sam Akoitai said yesterday." -article here

  Commodities may be in a funk, leavings stocks up in the air - "Recent woes at London-based hedge fund Red Kite – whether truth or rumour – have taken the shine off a number of commodities, but the market jostling may be concealing a secular change in fundamentals. If so, investors would need to closely examine the implications for innumerable listed metal and commodity stocks. " -article here

  Nickel dopes the results of Eramet - "Carried by the exceptional courses of metal, the sales turnover of Eramet Nickel increased by 31,6% in 2006. A good result, which could have been exceptional without the conflict carried out by the CSTNC during the 4th quarter." -translated article here

  Exiting BHP boss eyes buys - "BHP Billiton chief executive Chip Goodyear has vowed to keep his eye on acquisition opportunities, saying the company will not be distracted by uncertainty over his successor after he announced plans to retire by the end of the year." -article here

  Just where is nickel going? Analysts disagree - "Nickel is so pricey that it has caused stainless steel to double what it cost a year ago, and shows no sign of going down soon." -article here

  EU becomes the largest region in China's stainless exports - "The stainless steel exports from China has reached 852,000 tons in 2006, up by 137 percent compared to 2005." -more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 535 tons =  3,654 tonnes  ( 17.24 % cancelled warrants)

Wednesday, Feb 7  (Visit our new forum)

  Official LME nickel closing for today - cash - $17.64/lb - 3 month buyer - $16.03/lb. Nickel ended the trading day at $16.26/lb ($35,850/tonne), as the market, encouraged by the first gain seen in inventory in a few weeks, watched and waited.(more)

  China's steel product consumption will rise by 10 percent in 2007, the National Development and Reform Commission predicted yesterday. (
  Base Metals: Supply Side Crucial - "The prevailing theme in commodity price forecasts for the last three or so years has been "stronger for longer", otherwise referred to as a "super-cycle". The super part is mostly a reflection of the Japanese experience through the sixties and seventies and the comparisons made with a much bigger China." -article here
  Prospects for commodities still bright - "Jonathan Blake, manager of the Baring Global Resources Fund, claims that three key factors have affected commodity prices, causing volatility in the marketplace." -article here
  More on the Rheebu Nuu reaction in New Caledonia -statement translated from their web site here
  Last one for BHP today, we promise - "BHP's $13b pledge stuns market" -article here  Webcast today at 4 pm EST -here  Annual reports online -here
  The Mindanao War Must End - (comment - the island where the Nonoc Nickel Mine is located) -article here
  Ramu mine ‘threat to fisheries’ - "The operations of the Ramu nickel/cobalt mine may have an adverse impact on the future commercial viability of Madang’s RD Tuna cannery, an environmental scientist has warned." -article here
  Falling prices fail to deter metals investors - "Sliding prices of metals like copper have not dimmed the enthusiasm of investors pouring money into new mines, who are betting a paucity of big new projects and healthy Chinese demand will support prices well above long-term averages." - article here
  More on BHP - "BHP makes record earnings" -article here   BHP presentation and report -here  "BHP's payout" -article here  Webcast today at 4 pm EST -here
  It was the proverbial "drop in the bucket", but the little slight gain seen in LME nickel inventory figures released today, helped apply the brakes to the bullish market. While it may not last long, at 8:00 am CST, indications show nickel is trading flat, after falling earlier  (more)
  Reuters Metal Week in Review -pdf here
  Behre Dolbear Global Mining News -pdf here
  Selkirk study confirms potential 260,000-tonne nickel production for LionOre's Tati - "Toronto’s LionOre Mining expects to produce 260,000 tonnes of nickel at its 85 percent owned Tati Nickel Mine in Botswana over the life span of the potentially rich Selkirk low-grade disseminated nickel sulphide deposit within its project area. " -article here
  New Caledonia Activists Hint At Legal Action Over Nickel Project - "Rheebu Nuu, a New Caledonian activist group that opposes Companhia Vale Do Rio Doce's (RIO) Goro nickel project on the South Pacific island, this week criticized the overturning of a court order that had halted construction work at part of the project and hinted at further legal action." -article here
  Nickel Inventories Hit 15-year Low; Arctic Blast Lifts All Energy Boats -pdf report here
  Zimbabwe: Bindura Nickel Boss Resigns - "BINDURA Nickel Corporation Limited managing director Mr Fred Moyo has resigned." -article here
  After the Good Old Days of Commodity Prices - "“It’s dangerous when bankers try to predict the future,” said Mark Tyler, Head of Mining and Resources at Nedbank at this year’s Mining Indaba." -article here andanother article here
  Mining & metals: Russia - "Leading local steel maker Severstal has unveiled ambitious expansion plans for 2007, saying that it plans to make acquisitions in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia." -article here
  Nickel - Sustainability will sustain nickel price - "While low world stocks and the threat of strike action in Canada are pushing nickel prices to record levels, environmental sustainability will be the metal’s long term strength, according to Citigroup Investment Research global commodity analyst Alan Heap." -article here  
  Specialty Metals Industry Group Releases Ten-Month Market Data -pdf here
  Sumitomo Metal Mining expects a deficit of nickel in 2007 - Japanese company Sumitomo Metal Mining predicting a shortfall of 12,000 tons of nickel in 2007. .It is expected that the consumption of the material to grow by 40,000 tons to 1.37 million tons this year, mainly by the strong demand in Asia, compared with the previous 1.31-million tons. - courtesy Titan Association on the basis of the Metal Bulletin
  Article's on BHP - "BHP's Goodyear announces retirement, will step down end 2007" -(article here)  "BHP Billiton's Profit Rose 41 Percent" -(article here)   "BHP Billiton signals a big idea for future" -(article here)    "BHP CEO: Ravensthorpe Nickel Proj Progressing On Schedule" -(article here)   "BHP Boosts Buyback Amid Profit Surge; CEO To Leave" -(article here)   
  Giant elements for the factory of Goro Nickel - "Seven modules with impressive dimensions arrived yesterday at the port of Goro Nickel. These parts weigh each one several hundreds of tons. They will play an essential part in the operation of the factory." -Translated article here
  EU, North America March stainless surcharges hit new high - "Due to the influence of the continuing hiking nickel price, Europe and North America are expected to have higher alloy surcharges on austenitic stainless steel coil from March 1." -article here
  Dow Jones Newswire - LME Nickel To Hold At Record Highs - "London Metal Exchange nickel looks set to trade at "sky-high levels for some time to come," says BMO Capital Markets analyst Bart Melek. Notes demand is set to outstrip supply in both '07 and '08, amid dwindling stocks of less than one days' consumption in LME warehouses. LME nickel trades last at $36,400 a metric ton, up 2% on the day. (ADH)"
  Base metals bull market expected to end in 2007 - "The consensus among forecasters is that base metals peaked in 2006 and, depending on the metal, will head lower this year as the global economy slows. If the consensus is correct, the reversal may mark the end of a four-year bull market for base metals that has recently sent prices to unprecedented highs." -article here
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 138 tons =  3,120 tonnes  ( 19.80 % cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Feb 6   (We have added a forum for our readers. You may talk about mines, stocks, inventory, news, or anything nickel, moly or stainless steel related you like. Please feel free to join and take part.Join here)

  Today's official closing prices - cash - $18.09/lb - 3 month buyer - $16.51/lb. LME nickel was quiet today, as traders prepared for options Wednesday, closing at$16.21/lb ($35,750/tonne).(more)
  Metals Trading: Red Kite buffeted by strong winds - "Two of the places closest to the hearts of Michael Farmer and David Lilley are near each other in the heart of the City of London – St Helen’s Church and the London Metal Exchange." -article here
  Norilsk buy of OM Group nickel assets cleared by EU - "The European Commission said it has cleared Russian group Norilsk Nickel's proposed 408 mln usd acquisition of US-based OM Group Inc's nickel assets." -article here
  Metals Insider - Week in Review -here
  Indications  at 7:45 am CST show nickel is trading up by about $.30/lb (more)
  Stainless steel surcharges for March 2007 announced - AK Steelhere North American Stainlesshere and Allegheny Ludlumhere
  Rand Merchant - Base Metals Weekly Report -pdf here
  Canada Commodity Price Update -pdf here
  We added a graph showing "Origin of Stainless Steel Imports into the US 2005 - 2006 comparison" to our chart and graphs pagehere
  Copper, nickel prices may fall further: Harrington - "Harrington says that the news that Red Kite had negative returns caused a lot of consternation among investors. He fears that it might lead to withdrawal from investment funds or hedge funds from the commodity space." -article here
  Rogers Says More Funds May Collapse After Amaranth - "Jim Rogers, who predicted the start of the commodities rally in 1999, said more hedge funds may collapse after the demise of Amaranth Advisors LLC and losses by metals-trading hedge fund Red Kite Management Ltd." -article here
  More articles on Russia - Kremlin Inc. To Grab Billionaire's Nickel Giant?(here)  Potanin Says State Could Buy Norilsk(here)   Bistro, Bistro Cried the Russian to Sarkozy(here)
  Sumitomo May Get Go-Ahead for Philippine Nickel Plant - "The Philippine unit of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Japan's largest nickel producer, may start building its second refinery in western Philippines next month as it is likely to win environmental clearance, a government official said." -article here
  Commodity price 'bubble' to stabilise - Nedbank's Taylor - "The current super-cycle that is characterising global resource commodity prices is anticipated to soon recede back to normal trading levels that are primarily dictated by supply and demand fundamentals." -article here
  Chinese developers of PNG Ramu mine put on notice for dismal working conditions -more here
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 240 tons =  2,982 tonnes  ( 20.72% cancelled warrants)

Monday, Feb 5 (Happy Waitangi Day for our New Zealand readers - Feb 6)

  Official closing for LME nickel today - cash - $18.78/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.23/lb. After the official closing prices had been established, the market turned south, with nickel shedding nearly 5% of its value. LME nickel ended the day at$16.17/lb ($35,655/tonne). Before you get nervous or excited (depending on if you produce or consume nickel), last Tuesday the market closed at $16.19/lb.  
  Red Kite is “random noise,” not Amaranth - "Contrary to what one trader told Reuters on Friday, the commodities market is not collapsing - and neither is Red Kite." -article here
 Maybank Launches Islamic-Structured Deposit In S'pore - "Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), currently the largest Islamic banking services provider in Asia-Pacific with over US$6.4 billion (US$1=RM3.47) in syariah-compliant assets as at June 2006, has launched the Premier Structured Deposit here." -article here 
  China pursues talks over steel trade disputes - "China is trying to resolve steel trade disputes in discussions with the United States, the European Union and the Republic of Korea, the three major importers of China's steel, said Luo Bingsheng, Vice Chairman and Secretary-general of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA)." -article here
  Norilsk Nickel To Spin Off Energy Assets By End 2007 - "Russian mining giant OAO Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.RS) Monday said it will spin off its energy assets into a separate holding company by the end of the year." -article here
  China Investment in Africa Are No Longer Welcome - "President Hu cancelled one of the showpieces of his African tour yesterday after warnings of anti-Chinese protests. Mr Hu had been due to launch a new $200 million smelter at one of Zambia’s largest, and Chinese-run, copper mines." -article here  (comment - anymore reports come out like the one from PNG Ramu's project today, and this article could take on a worldwide meaning) 
  Articles about Norilsk - Russian Nickel Tycoon Tells Oligarch Colleagues to Behave Better Abroad(article here) Billionaires Behaving Badly(article here) Alrosa Chief Quits Amid Talk of Norilsk Deal(article here)
  Nickel is still looking for a place to catch its breathe, and indications this morning at 8:00 am CST, show it is trading approx $.30/lb higher. (more)
  DENR chief to inspect Rapu-Rapu mine - "Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Angelo Reyes will conduct an ocular inspection of the Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Mine on Rapu-Rapu Island in Albay early next week to validate the company’s compliance with the environmental conditions and other safeguards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) before the mining firm is allowed to operate on a commercial scale." -article here
  Finally posted online - last week's Behre Dolbear Global Mining News -pdf here
  Dow Jones Newswire - "Nickel prices are "virtually unforecastable," says Societe Generale's Stephen Briggs, with the market "likely to remain very high for some years." "We can only recommend that consumers who can substitute nickel, do so," Briggs adds.
  Ramu mine breaches PNG industrial law - "LABOUR and Industrial Relations Secretary David Tibu is prepared to shut the operations of the Ramu nickel/cobalt mine if the Chinese developer fails to follow certain directives." -article here andarticle here
  Toledo Mining Corp PLC said its first shipment of laterite nickel ore has left the Berong anchorage in Philippines but added that at about 19,000 tonnes, it is less than the expected 40,000 tonnes.
  Commodity prices forecasted to be well above historic trend - "Rio Tinto Chief Economist Vivek Tulpulé Thursday forecast that most commodity prices are expected to average well above their long historical trend this year." -article here
  China will import 355 mln tons of iron ore this year, the official Securities Times reported over the weekend, citing data provided by the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA). The association said earlier that China imported 326.3 mln tons of iron ore last year, up 18.56 pct, and accounting for 51.1 pct of its total consumption. (Steel Times India)
  Building the future for Rio Tinto – Mineweb interviews Tom Albanese - "In May, New Jersey native Tom Albanese will become the third American to currently head an international mega-miner when he assumes the Rio Tinto chief executive’s position from Leigh Clifford, who is retiring." -article here
  Work of Kwé: the Court of Appeal of Paris gives reason to Goro Nickel - "A decision of court can cancel another of them. The Court of Appeal of Paris cancelled Friday the decision of the Court of Bankruptcy in the business opposing the committee Rheebu Nuu to Goro Nickel: work of the future site of storage of Kwé is not illegal any more, nor dangerous." -translated article here
  Yieh reports "China's Taiyuan Iron & Steel Corp (Tisco) announced plans to double the stainless steel output and export volume this year. Tisco has started an expansion project to reach annual capacity 15 million by 2010, and it consists 3 million tons of stainless steel capacity and 12 million tons of carbon steel capacity."
  Nickel Price Outlook Divides Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan - "When it comes to nickel, the best performing commodity the past 13 months, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is determined to prove Deutsche Bank AG is full of so much hot air." -article here
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - no gain/loss =  3,222 tonnes  ( 28.31% cancelled warrants)

Weekend Review, Feb 3-4

And to close out this weekend report, we thought we would give you something with a little "wow" effect. Here is a photo of Saturn, taken with the Sun behind it. If you are feeling a little overcome with problems today, the little star you see inside the rings on the left hand side - that's Earth. (click the photo to open up larger photo -source here with even larger photo)
  Metals selloff raises fears over bullish funds - "Falling base metals markets have renewed concerns that hedge funds making big bets on high prices may be in trouble, after last year's missteps that put a few funds out of business and hurt the industry's image as a money machine."(article here)  (comment - So, why the panic on the LME Friday? And why should traders worry about a hedge fund called Red Kite losing money. Isn't trading a game of winners and losers? In fact, it was less panic, than profiteering. There is no reason to believe that this will be more than a bump in the road for Red Kite, but these things do have ripple effects for hedge fund investors and banks. Red Kite's primary concern now will be it is a wounded animal in the "River". This particular "River" is well known for its sharks, looking to benefit off others injuries and misfortunes. And much of Friday's drop in copper price? Was exactly that! Monday may bring more of the same, with traders driving the price of copper down further to force Kite's stops and make life miserable for them. If there are others in Red Kite's shoes, they are remaining quiet.)
  Could Africa Bring Bown The Super Cycle? -article here
  (Prensa Latina) "Cuba said it will invest 300-plus million dollars in its basic industry, including nickel, to improve industry output and energy-saving efficiency. Holguin -located over 456 miles east of Havana- closed 2006 with a record production and nickel exports excelled as Cuba's largest hard currency income source."
  How will the market remember 2007? - "Asked a year ago whether strong metal prices could be sustained, an industry executive reckoned the world was in “the third or fourth innings” of a resources bull market." -article here
  Indian scientist discovers new magnetic molecules - "An Indian scientist and his team have discovered a new family of magnetic molecules that could revolutionise computer storage devices." -more here
  U.S. rules reach into Canada - "Workers at a Valleyfield munitions factory were more afraid for their civil liberties than their job security last year when they learned their plant had been purchased by a giant U.S. defence contractor." -article here
  The Centre for Management Technology has asked us to invite interested parties to their "Stainless/ Specialty Steels Summit" to be held in Dubai on 19-20 March. For further information, pleasevisit here. A few other upcoming shows to mention include the Australian Nickel Conference 24 – 25 October at the Sheraton Perth Hotel in Western Australiainfo here and the The 3rd New Caledonia Nickel Conference on 25th March - 28th March at the Le Meridien, Noumea.more here And finally, Stainless 22-24, May in the Czech Republic info here (regretfully, due to prior engagements, we won't be available to speak at any of these conferences......not that we were asked)
  CAW ratifies three-year deal with Xstrata Nickel by 87 per cent vote - "Xstrata Nickel employees at CAW Local 598, representing production and maintenance workers at the company's Sudbury operations, ratified a three-year collective agreement on Friday." -article here (comment - congrats again...could you lend the US  a few bucks? We have quite a little debt going on down here - for current US debt,see here)(Update - forget this request for donations. We just learned from CNBC, and his website, that Dr Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda has come to America. With the world's most recent self-described messiah arriving in the U.S., things have to get better, eh? -more here And the rest of the world says we Americans are idiots! We'll show them! Video here)
  More on who lost their jobs during the CVRD-Inco shake-up that we reported Jan 2, but became official Jan 30th -(here) Here is the list (and the bonus' they were given last fall so they would stick around to be fired) - Scott Hand, president and chief executive officer of Inco ($9.5 million), Bob Davies, chief financial officer ($500,000), Ron Aelick, president of Asia Pacific ($150,000), Stephanie Anderson, vice president and treasurer ($300,000), Subi Bhandari, vice president and chief information officer (no bonus listed), Mark Daniel vice president, human resources ($200,000), Bruce Drysdale, vice president of government and public affairs ($300,000), John Hills, director enterprise business solutions (no bonus listed), Peter Jones president and COO ($500,000), Sandra Scott, director of investor relations (no bonus listed) and Nick Sheard vice president of exploration (no bonus listed).(Original bonus list) )(comment - a few of the aforementioned "got the shaft" while the others "hit the mother-load" - mining terms)
  Cabinet Approves New Limits on Foreign Firms - "The Cabinet on Wednesday gave tentative approval to a long-delayed bill restricting foreign participation across 40 industries that the government deems strategic, including energy and metals."(article here)  And more on nickel being strategic(article here)
  Nickel producer eyes $2.5b in dual listing - "Xinjiang Nonferrous Metal Group, the mainland's second-largest nickel producer, plans to list its nickel unit in Hong Kong and Shanghai to raise a combined HK$2.5 billion during the first half of this year, sources said." -article here
  France bids for New Caledonia's lagoons on UNESCO world heritage list - "The French government has filed a bid with the United Nations Education Science and Culture organisation (UNESCO) to have New Caledonia enlisted for its unique lagoons and reefs." -article here
  Mining. China plays by own rules - "China may be only a consumer of mineral commodities for now, but it could eventually develop its own multinational mining groups and get involved as an active player in the international mining game, as Russia has done." -article here
  Outokumpu has links to two films on their home page (here)(look on lower left column - "Outokumpu" and "Production process")
  An island off Japan that was had a coal mine employing 5000 inhabitants. Closed in 1974, the island is completely deserted and off limits now - 2 part video - Part 1 Part 2 and more reading on Hashima "Ghost" Islandhere(see links on article to numerous photo's)
  It will be interesting to see if CVRD will dump the minority interest in the Fenix Project it inherited with the Inco purchase, for the PR value? -youtube video here
  Modern Marvels - watch the segment on the Biggest Machines - Dump Truck and Bulldozer -video here
  The Ontario Mining Association produced a 14-minute video last year titled Mining New Opportunities. -video here
  Promotional film on Philippine's mining opportunities -youtube video here
  Raising Awareness of Stainless Steel Recycling - "The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) today announced it has launched an advertising campaign jointly with the Nickel Institute. The campaign is designed to inform the public that stainless steel is one of the world’s most recycled materials and that it is recycled more than paper or glass." -video's here and flyer's you can use in your businesshere
  Posted on here before, and will again. Still my favorite promotional film for stainless steelhere
  Bookmarks for Australia and NZ (not mining specific) - Westpac Economic and Financial Research -(here) and St George Private Bank Daily Commentary(here) and Prescott Securities Reports(here)

Friday, Feb 2

  Today's official closing for LME nickel - cash - $18.50/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.01/lb. With inventories continuing to fall, and nothing on immediate horizon promising relief, the price of nickel climbed throughout the day, before pausing near the close, ending the week at$16.94/lb  ($37,350/tonne). Other metals took a thrashing today, and Reuters stated "Traders said the selling was mostly on behalf of funds, triggered by a report of heavy losses at a hedge fund that specialises in metals trading."(more) and more on Red Kitehere
  French Crt Allows CVRD Inco To Resume Goro Land Clearing - "CVRD Inco will resume clearing land at its Goro nickel mining project in New Caledonia after winning an appeal Friday filed to overturn a French court ruling that required the company to stop its work there, the company said." -article here
  China slows down investment in steel industry, shifts emphasis to high-end projects - "Investment on fixed assets in China's iron and steel sector reached 260.3 billion yuan (about 33 billion U.S. dollars) last year, which Luo Bingsheng, vice-chairman of the industry's association, termed excessive." -more here
  2001 - 2006 annual average price for nickel, moly, and ferrochrome updatedhere
  Nickel inventories continue to fall, and the price continues to rise. Indications at 8:00 am CST are that nickel trading is selling up by $.39/lb.(more)
  Daily Report By Jyske Bank -pdf here
  Tax Deduction on Imported Nickel in China Unlikely to Push Inflow - "Trading sources reported that a tax deduction on importations of refined nickel in China is not likely to prompt inflow due to high world prices." -article here
  Philippines foresees boom in mining - "Overseas investment in mines in the Philippines, which has $1 trillion in mineral wealth according to a state estimate, may surge to $1.6 billion next year as the industry starts to boom, the government has forecast." -article here
  China's Xinjiang Nonferrous Metal Group plans IPO for nickel unit this yr - "China's Xinjiang Nonferrous Metal Group said in a statement that its cupro-nickel unit is planning a public listing this year." -more here
  North American Average Stainless Steel Prices - Latest forecasts from MEPS - In February and March we expect stainless transaction values to rise to new record highs due to inflated nickel prices in December and January. -more here
  (interesting article by Mineweb above supposed "plot" to get rid of Mikhail Prokhorov)  Prokhorov sells out of Norilsk Nickel, Polyus - "Mikhail Prokhorov, until Thursday the world's richest miner, ought to have enjoyed the lentils, which are one of the staples on the menu at the Hotel de Police de Lyon. For four days in January, Prokhorov was jailed in France on suspicion of trafficking in women, pimping, and related sex commerce. He was released without indictment. It was the worst scandal to strike the two internationally listed mining companies, Norilsk Nickel and Polyus Gold, since Prokhorov and his partner, Vladimir Potanin, first took Russia's largest mining assets in a rigged privatization scheme a decade ago." -(much more here) also, here is a text transcript from a NTV Mir Television report in Moscow(here)  and finally, an article from Moscow Times(here)
  Metals: prices are soaring - "It looks as though the global rolled products market has embarked on the road to recovery. As expected, prices for fittings, the main type of rolled construction products, were the first to rally, having climbed 10% over the past two weeks. In all likelihood, metal producers can look forward to a good year ahead." -article here
  Eleven billion work before the factory of North - "Fences, the installation of the RT1, offices and a base life of 250 people: Koniambo Nickel announced, yesterday to Koné, eleven billion preliminary work. But no firm contract was still taken for the construction of the factory of North." translated articlehere
  China's stainless exports to US hits 16,000 tons in last Dec - "China has exported stainless steel products over 16,000 tons to the US in last December, which was two times more than the quantity of 7,100 tons in the same period of 2005." -article here
  Chinese ferromoly prices steady before Chinese New Year break - "Spot ferromolybdenum trade in Asia has been at a standstill with offer prices moving within a tight range of $61-62/kg on a CIF basis, Asian industry sources said this week. Asian traders said trade was expected to remain quiet ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays in mid-February." -more here
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 144 tons =  3,222 tonnes  ( 25.51% cancelled warrants)


  First, let us congratulate Xstrata and the CAW on reaching an agreement, and saving those of who use nickel, a lot more pain in the pocket - we hope. More importantly, your decision not to strike proved our prediction on January 20 correct, for a welcome change. Ok - now let's talk about the contract. Here are some details from the Tentative Agreement made between Xstrata and the CAW, that should be ratified by the membership Friday. Wage increase of $.60/hour in the first year, $.20/hour the second, and $.20/hour the third. Presently the CAW makes about $26/hour(C). A "Continuity Allowance" of $8000(C) or about $6796(US). This works out to another $1.33/hour(C) over the three year contract term. Not mentioned, but surely understood, is the continuance of the monthly nickel profit bonus each member gets. The higher the price of nickel goes, the bigger the bonus (you don't honestly believe it was all Xstrata that was doing the stalling, do you?) A thirty year retirement to look forward to with a $39,600(C)/annual pension (if you have seen what a pack of cigarettes cost in Canada, you wouldn't think this was so high). And many other provisions, too numerous to list. One particular line that stands out - "Viagra now covered (for medical reasons)". Better watch out Inco! Your competition in town just got stiffer!(details here)

Thursday, Feb 1   13 days till Valentines Day (we Americans are a little preoccupied at the moment by the much anticipated approach of an annual event, that is quite misunderstood in those parts of the world that find football a brutal and senseless sport. It is an event our nation watches with hushed reverence, followed by cheers of excitement. Bets, both legal and illegal, are being placed on its outcome as we write this. We, of course, are speaking of Ground Hog Day. When the greatest nation on earth comes to a stop and watches a furry, fat rodent, we would any other day be shooting at, come out of a cage, so we can determine our meteorological future .And you other nations call yourselves civilized!!)

  Official close for LME nickel today - cash - $17.91/lb - 3 month buyer - $16.61/lb. Markets were down early on news the Sudbury strike had been averted, but regained its momentum on inventory pressures. The strike possibility may be over, but the question remains -"Where's the nickel?!"LME nickel ended the day at$16.70/lb ($36,825/tonne).
  Commodities 2007: Year of the Bears? - "Little attention has been given to the technical aspects behind the January correction in commodities and energy markets. This is remarkable given its impact on the markets in the near term is likely to be no less than significant." -article here
  Nickel – Mining starts at Avebury nickel project -article here
  January Manufacturing ISM Report On Business -press release here
  Eramet - New Caledonia Nickel Loss 7,000 Tons From Strike - "The company said it is now looking to boost output to 75,000 tons, but aims to produce about 65,000 tons in 2007. Deliveries will be about 2,000 tons lower than this, Eramet said, in order to rebuild stocks of finished products which fell to an "unsustainably low level during the strike." -Article here
  (comment) Everyone was watching the events in Sudbury yesterday, so the ruling in Russia kind of snuck thru. We find it interesting that Russia is putting a stop to foreign owned companies taking over their mining industries, or not allowing any new companies to come in after their "rare" minerals like copper?, when just 3 years ago, Norilsk took over Stillwater Mining of Montana and is mining platinum in the US?? - 2 pages - #1here #2here.
  Norilsk chief to sell stake - "Banking experts are speculating that Mikhail Prokhorov's decision to sell his interest in OAO Norilsk Nickel could eventually result in the Russian government taking over the world's largest nickel miner." -more here
  CVMR Eyes $3 Bln Philippine Nickel Refinery Invest - Source - "Canada's Chemical Vapor Metal Refinery Co., or CVMR, is keen to invest US$3 billion in a nickel refinery in the Philippines, a senior official of the mines bureau said Thursday." -more here
  Clad Steel Plate from Japan; Final Results of the Expedited Sunset Review (Second Review) of the Antidumping Duty Order -more here
  Well, it's over!! Oh, not the bull run, just the possibility of a strike in Sudbury. The price of nickel fell sharply this morning on news of an agreement between the CAW and Xstrata, with prices falling over $500/tonne. Then someone seemed to remember the LME nickel inventory fell nearly 20% overnight (before any strike), and at 8:00 am CST, indications show the price of nickel is actually selling above yesterday, by $.03/lb. Go figure. Let's hope someone was holding back on some nickel shipments betting that a strike driving prices higher.(more here)
  Mineral boom set to continue - "AUSTRALIA'S mineral boom appears set to continue despite a slowing US economy that would normally have been the death knell for commodity prices in the past, a leading forecaster said today." -article here (the report mentioned is not free so I am unable to link to it)
  Norilsk Nickel comes under sole control - "Vladimir Potanin, one of Russia's richest and most politically savvy oligarchs, is buying out his business partner to take sole control of Norilsk Nickel, in what could be a step towards state control of the world's biggest nickel producer." -article here
  POSCO to build ferronickel refinery in May - "South Korea's POSCO, the world's third-largest steel maker, said on Thursday it will start in May to build its first ferronickel refinery with an annual capacity of 150,000 tonnes. POSCO has been seeking to secure a stable supply of the material, which is a combination of nickel and steel." -article here
  Eramet annual report - (quote - "Given the effects of the strike, particularly on ore inventories, as well as planned repair works on two ore calcining furnaces, the target for metallurgical nickel production at the Doniambo plant in 2007 is about 65,000 t. Deliveries will be about 2,000 tonnes lower than this, in order to rebuild inventories of finished products, which fell to an unsustainably low level during the strike.") -pdf press release here
  Stainless Steel Transaction Prices Nearing Their Peak -MEPS report here  and article on report  "Stainless Steel Price Boom Under Serious Threat - MEPS"here
  China will impose quotas on the export of molybdenum - "The government of the People's Republic of China could impose export quotas molybdenum in March." -translated from Russian here
  We have made some changes to our right column. Nickel, molybdenum, and ferrochrome price history's have been moved to the charts page, and we have added some more analysis and helpful links for our readers.
  Rio Tinto posts record 2006 profit - "Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has announced a 43 percent jump in in full-year net profit to a record 7.44 billion US dollars and forecast continued strong demand for commodities." -more here  (andannual report here)
  Miners battle China over African wealth - "The world's largest mining companies are turning to the United Nations and the World Bank in an attempt to prevent China freezing them out of Africa." -article here
  Philippine Berong mine makes first nickel shipment - "The Philippines' Berong nickel mine, whose inferred resource is said to be the world's fourth biggest, has made its first trial ore shipment, one of its owners said on Thursday." -article here
  Outokumpu: Nickel Price Makes Steel Stock Build Unlikely - "Underlying demand for stainless steel is expected to remain strong in 2007 with stocks unlikely to build while nickel prices remain high and volatile, Finland's Outokumpu said Thursday." -(more here) and "Outokumpu swings to Q4 pretax profit, beating market consensus" -more here
  Xstrata Sudbury nickel workers' union agrees deal - "Xstrata Plc and the union representing workers at its big Canadian nickel operations in Sudbury reached a tentative new agreement before a deadline on Wednesday, narrowly avoiding a strike that would have crippled production and crimped already-tight metal supplies." -article here
  Yesterday's official closing prices - now being posted at end of day - see yesterday for yesterday's closing price
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 606 tons =  3,366 tonnes  ( 27.27% cancelled warrants)

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All prices, unless marked official closing prices, are indications only of LME traded prices and courtesy IFS. (Molybdenum prices are for molybdenum oxide, an ingredient and major price factor in 316 stainless) (all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.6 pounds ) Updated daily before 8 am CST and around 12:45 pm CST weekdays, with some weekend updates Flags courtesy (19X13) -Disclaimer



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