Nickel Prices Lower Again, Verdict Expected in Solomon Islands Mining Dispute

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High nickel prices and interest from China are raising the stakes in Solomon Islands as a verdict nears in a court action between a small Australian mining company and Japanese giant Sumitomo. At issue is the right to mine a rich greenfield nickel site in Isabel Province in the Solomon Islands.

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A verdict is expected this month in a court action between a small Australian company, Axiom mining, and Japanese mining giant Sumitomo. Sumitomo has been in the Solomon Islands for a decade trying to get permission to explore, and at one stage won an international tender to do so, according to ABCnet.au.

Sumitomo and Axiom KB each claim they hold the legal right to a prospecting license. Australian Judge, John Brown, is hearing the case.

On Friday, September 12, the Indian nickel cash price fell by 0.9 percent, landing at INR 1,139 ($18.68) per kilogram and making it the day’s biggest mover. On the LME, the spot price of nickel fell 0.5 percent to $18,455 per metric ton. The 3-month price of nickel weakened by 0.4 percent on the LME, settling at $18,550 per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel prices closed flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome held steady at CNY 8,300 ($1,354) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese ferro-moly held flat at CNY 145,000 ($23,656) per metric ton.

The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge remained essentially flat at $1.26 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil saw little movement at CNY 26,000 ($4,242) 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 ($2,676) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat at CNY 16,100 ($2,627) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap was unchanged at CNY 16,400 ($2,676) per metric ton.

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