Since the Indonesia ore export ban began in January, nickel prices have risen nearly 40%. Sulawesi Mining Investment, a joint venture of Jakarta-based Bintangdelapan Group and Chinese steelmaker Tsingshan Holding Group, is building two smelters in Indonesia, one in Morowali, Central Sulawesi province, Bloomberg News reported.
Sulawesi is a sprawling k-shaped island traversed by the equator. It has more than 72 percent of Indonesia’s mineable nickel reserves. Before the curb, mandated by the Mining Law of 2009, companies stripped the forest to uncover earth that contained about 1.8 percent nickel. The dirt was trucked to the coast, loaded onto flat-bottomed barges and transferred to ocean-going vessels.
The first smelter and a coal-fired power plant will be completed by December or in the first quarter at a cost of $672 million, Sulawesi Mining President Director Hamid Mina told Bloomberg News. Furnaces will transform ore with about 1.8 percent nickel into ingots or granules of nickel pig iron, known as NPI, with 10 percent metal. At full capacity, it’ll produce 300,000 tons a year, or the equivalent of 30,000 tons of pure nickel.
Rising 1.8 percent to close at $18,830 per metric ton, the nickel 3-month price experienced the biggest change on the LME for Tuesday, June 10. On the LME, the nickel spot price gained 1.6 percent to finish at $18,750 per metric ton. The Indian nickel cash price rose 1.1 percent to INR 1,125 ($19.00) per kilogram after a two-day drop.
Chinese stainless steel closed mixed yesterday. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese ferro-chrome held flat at CNY 8,300 ($1,330) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly remained essentially flat at CNY 145,000 ($23,234) per metric ton.
The price of Chinese primary nickel declined 0.2 percent to CNY 132,200 ($21,183) per metric ton. The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge continues hovering around $1.29 per pound for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 26,000 ($4,166) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil saw little movement at CNY 16,400 ($2,628) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 16,100 ($2,580) per metric ton.