Nickel prices trade at decade high; gain 9% this year

Nickel prices are trading at a decade high and have gained 9 percent already for the current year on the back of strong demand expectations and announcements of new nickel mining projects. Shanghai Nickel is near a record high.  According to the IEA, Nickel demand will grow 19-fold by 2040. Nickel use in battery storage/EV will jump 20 percent by 2025. Tesla has signed a nickel purchase deal of 75,000 tonnes with Talon.

The China rate cut and expectations of more stimulus coming in from China has been supportive for metals and nickel seems to be taking in cues too.  Nickel is one of the most widely used minerals for EV batteries. Considering this commodity has climbed to its highest level in a decade as stockpiles decline, it could present some challenges for EV producers.

The nickel demand of the EV battery sector is expected to accelerate, with experts predicting it to be near 35 percent of the total demand by the end of the decade.

Here are the key factors for rise in nickel prices

– Announcements of new nickel mining projects

-China rate cut, expectation of more stimulus

-Increase in demand for lithium-ion batteries
-Global stockpiles dwindle, with LME stock near record low
-Ramp-up of EV production also a key factor
Prices in nickel from 2017 to 2021 are:
2021 : +26.4%
2020 : +18.6%
2019 : +31.55%
2018 : -16.5%
2017 : +30.5%

Kalgoorlie Gold Mining set to hit ASX with Ardea gold assets

Kalgoorlie Gold Mining is set to pocket up to $12 million following the closing date of its initial public offering on the 26th of October. The company is set to list on the Australian Securities Exchange on 12 November and plans to use the money to follow up on some bonanza historical gold hits east of Kalgoorlie that inexplicably were never really run to ground. Kalgoorlie Gold will spin out of Ardea Resources who has been quietly amassing some serious gold tenure amongst its massive nickel holdings in WA.

The company will come to market with some seven gold projects scattered around WA that were previously housed under Ardea’s roof but did not receive enough love from Ardea given its principal focus on its massive nickel deposits near Menzies.  The flagship Kalgoorlie Gold asset will be the Bulong-Taurus project about 40km east of Kalgoorlie in the renowned Bulong mineral district that has been giving up precious metal riches for decades.

It is hard to understand why hits like this were never properly followed up by past explorers. One possible explanation is that it was very close to the tenement boundary which is no longer an issue as Kalgoorlie Gold and Ardea have now brought multiple tenements together under the one roof in the region.  If you talk to the Kalgoorlie locals about the Bulong area to the east of Kalgoorlie you will get a lot of knowing looks – particularly from the old-timers who are only too aware of the gold prospectivety of Bulong.

Maximus onto “Kambalda style” nickel sulphides at Hilditch West

Maximus Resources says a detailed piece of geological detective work on some drill chips has confirmed the nickel sulphides at its Hilditch West project near Kambalda resemble the nickel sulfides that put Kambalda on the geological map many years ago.   The company says the potential source might be an as yet undrilled near-by conductor lurking deeper in the stratigraphy that will take centre stage when the rods start spinning again.

Maximus controls about 48 square kilometres of land across the fertile Spargoville shear zone 20km west of the Kambalda Township. The Spargoville shear zone hosts the very high-grade Wattle Dam Gold Mine that was active up to 2012. Wattle Dam was one of Australia’s highest-grade gold mines and produced around 286,000 ounces of gold at an eye-watering grade of 10.1 g/t. Maximus is seeking to develop several small high-grade operations within its tenements while continuing its search for the next Wattle Dam.

Whilst gold remains a prime target, it would appear that Maximus also has a significant nickel opportunity on its hands. The company interprets the Spargoville Shear zone that runs through its tenements to host a near contiguous belt of nickel deposits including Mincor Resources Cassini nickel deposit, Neometals Widgiemooltha Dome/Mt Edwards projects, Estrella Resources Andrews Shaft Nickel deposit and its own Wattle Dam East and Hilditch nickel prospects.

Metal Hawk soars on WA nickel sulphide discovery

Market punters pushed Metal Hawk’s share price through the roof after maiden reverse circulation drilling at the company’s Berehaven nickel project near Kalgoorlie hit massive sulphide nickel mineralisation. Metal Hawk’s share price touched 76c in intraday trading after it announced a two-metre intersection of massive and semi-massive nickel sulphide mineralisation. The company’s previous day’s closing share price was 18.5c.

The company is now planning to launch a diamond drilling campaign to follow up on the nickel sulphide hit.  The discovery comes on the back of three RC holes at the Commodore prospect located in the south-west area of the Berehaven tenure.  The company says the Berehaven tenure, which spans for more than 95 square kilometres, plays host to several underexplored target areas. The drilling at Commodore focused on an interpreted north-northwest trending ultramafic rock sequence stretching for up to 10km at the project.

With the price of nickel trading close to seven-year highs at about US$20,000 per tonne, Metal Hawk followers will no doubt be sweating on the results from its drilling at Berehaven.  And with the battery metals sector burgeoning right now and not looking like easing up anytime soon, now would be a good time to make a serious nickel discovery – particularly as there is more nickel in a lithium battery than lithium.

Auroch to fast-track WA nickel sulphide projects

Nickel exploration company, ASX listed Auroch Minerals has launched scoping studies on its Nepean and Saints nickel sulphide projects in the Goldfields region of Western Australia. The studies will evaluate various mining scenarios as the company looks to fast-track the projects to production to capitalise on strong nickel prices and to build on its existing relationship with mining giant, BHP.

Ore from a historical nickel mine at Nepean was previously processed at the Kambalda nickel operations which BHP is due to re-commence next year.   The scoping studies will look to assess the potential of bringing the two projects to life and to build upon the existing Saints off-take agreement with BHP. Specialist project delivery company, P1 Australasia will manage the studies in collaboration with Auroch.

Auroch says it is looking to build a business case for generating high-grade nickel sulphide feed for BHP’s processing facilities. It aims to produce high-quality nickel products suitable for lithium-ion batteries used in the flourishing electric vehicle industry.  Saints located to the north of Kalgoorlie is 100 per cent owned by Auroch.  The 80 per cent owned Nepean lies some 25 kilometres south of Coolgardie and plays host to the historical high-grade Nepean nickel mine which churned out more than a million tonnes of ore grading close to three per cent nickel between 1970 and 1987.

Wiluna Mining looks to add 2nd string to bow with nickel review

Perth-based gold miner and explorer Wiluna Mining can add nickel explorer to its growing resume as it embarks on an extensive review of historical exploration over its 1,600 square kilometre landholding in WA’s Northern Goldfields.  Wiluna’s tenure stretches across 40km of strike in the Wiluna Greenstone Belt where the company is reviewing a plethora of high-grade nickel intercepts which look to be begging for renewed attention.

The Agnew-Wiluna region has been sporadically explored for nickel-sulphides since the nickel exploration boom of the late 1960s which was fuelled by the discovery of the world-famous nickel deposits in the Kambalda Dome. Much of the historical exploration focused solely on gold for obvious reasons with Wiluna Mining laying claim more recently to the colossal 6-million-ounce Wiluna goldfield.  However, with the price of nickel in an upward trajectory as demand increases from the electric vehicle industry, there are good reasons for Wiluna to re-evaluate the nickel prospects on its tenements.

In the meantime its firm focus remains on reaching the lofty heights of an annualised gold production of 250,000 ounces. However, there is more than enough smoke from the nearby nickel targets for the company to create a second string to its considerable bow.