Vale’s New Caledonia Mine Shutdown Pushes Nickel Higher

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Nickel rose on the LME Thursday as global supply concerns mounted following a plant closure in New Caledonia by Vale SA, the world’s second-biggest producer.

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In the South Pacific nation, processing operations stopped after a spill of “acid-containing solution,” a small amount of which entered a nearby creek, Cory McPhee, a Vale spokesman in Toronto, said today in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. The water quality in the creek is back to normal and Vale expects to “resume production ‘‘shortly,’’ he said, without citing a date.

Vale, based in Rio De Janeiro, said in November that it planned to produce 40,000 metric tons this year at the New Caledonia site, formerly known as Goro. Nickel prices jumped 40 percent this year after ore shipments were banned by Indonesia, the top miner.

On Thursday, May 8, the day’s biggest mover was the Indian nickel cash price, which saw a 2.4 percent increase to INR 1,152 ($19.22) per kilogram. On the LME, the nickel spot price rose 0.7 percent to $18,580 per metric ton. On the LME, the nickel 3-month price increased 0.5 percent to $18,620 per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the day. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese ferro-chrome held flat at CNY 8,300 ($1,331) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly continues hovering around CNY 145,000 ($23,249) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

For the fifth day in a row, the Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge remained essentially flat at $1.16 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil held steady at CNY 26,000 ($4,169) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 16,400 ($2,630) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap continues hovering around CNY 16,100 ($2,581) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap saw little movement at CNY 16,400 ($2,630) per metric ton.

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