Riots Damage Vale’s New Caledonia Nickel Mine, Stainless Prices Essentially Steady

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Rioters torched vehicles, equipment and buildings at Vale’s nickel mine in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia over the weekend, as anger boiled over about a chemical spill in a local river, Reuters reported.

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The $6 billion Vale plant at Goro in southern New Caledonia was closed earlier this month after some 100,000 liters of acid-tainted effluent leaked, killing about 1,000 fish and sparking renewed protests at the mine site.

The Vale plant has a production target of 60,000 tons of nickel at full capacity, compared with global supply of around 2 million tons. But it has been beset by problems in recent years, including several chemical spills and violent protests.

On Tuesday, May 27, the day’s biggest mover was the Indian nickel cash price, which saw a 0.7 percent increase to INR 1,166 ($19.87) per kilogram. On the LME, the spot price of nickel remained essentially flat at $19,615 per metric ton. On the LME, the nickel 3-month price held steady around $19,575 per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 8,300 ($1,331) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese ferro-moly held flat at CNY 145,000 ($23,247) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese primary nickel saw a 0.2 percent decline to CNY 137,950 ($22,117) per metric ton. The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge held steady at $1.16 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 26,000 ($4,168) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil held steady at CNY 16,400 ($2,629) 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.

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