Slight Nickel Correction, Decision Soon in Solomon Islands Deposit Case

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A court ruling in the Solomon Islands may finally unlock a large nickel deposit that geologists have known about for half a century but have been unable to exploit because of ownership changes and legal wrangling.

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Japanese giant Sumitomo Metal Mining and tiny Australian explorer Axiom Mining are fighting over the Isabel nickel laterite discovery and will submit final arguments to the Solomon Islands High Court on June 23, following a court case that has already run for 88 days.

A ruling is expected soon after and could lead to development of the deposit, at a time when nickel prices have soared following a ban in January on ore exports by Indonesia, the world’s largest supplier.

With a decline of 0.8 percent on the LME to $18,300 per metric ton on Thursday, June 12, the nickel spot price recorded the biggest decline of the day. The 3-month price of nickel weakened by 0.8 percent on the LME, settling at $18,400 per metric ton. The Indian nickel cash price held steady on Thursday, remaining around INR 1,113 ($18.76) per kilogram.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome held steady at CNY 8,300 ($1,333) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly remained essentially flat at CNY 145,000 ($23,279) per metric ton.

For the fifth consecutive day, the Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge held flat at $1.29 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 26,000 ($4,174) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,633) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap saw little movement at CNY 16,100 ($2,585) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap held flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,633) per metric ton.

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