Canadian nickel producers can only stand to profit as protectionist measures in South Asia appeared to drive prices higher this week.
While the world’s largest producer, Indonesia, confirmed its plans to ban exports of nickel ore from January 2020, a mining region of the Philippines shut down four mines in a surprise move.
The government of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) suspended activities of all mining companies in its jurisdiction, ostensibly in preparation for the implementation of a new responsible mining law.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s much publicised attempt to move its own nickel extraction industry up the value chain by banning ore exports now looks set to hit two years earlier than previously expected, potentially causing more disruption in a market that both steel makers and battery producers serving the booming electric vehicle industry rely on.
Analysts at Canadian broker BMO Capital Markets said the move "potentially removes a further source of nickel ore supply from the market as the scramble to secure raw material units ahead of the end-of-year Indonesian ore ban continues, and is likely to further bolster nickel ore prices".
Lithium stocks have also benefitted from the battery boom, and on Wednesday Alberta-based lithium miner E3 Metals (TSX-V: ETMC) announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Livent Corporation, the world’s largest pure-play lithium stock, which should speed the development of E3 Metals’ proprietary direct lithium extraction process.
Chris Doornbos, President and CEO of E3 Metals, said: “There are few companies in the world that have the lithium production expertise Livent possesses. We believe this collaboration will accelerate the advancement of the innovative technology we have developed to date. This collaboration with Livent, and the Joint Development Project, demonstrates E3’s commitment to the commercialization of lithium in Alberta; we are excited to begin working with Livent immediately.”
E3 Metals’ Alberta Project boasts a total of 6.7 million tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent inferred mineral resources1 within the Leduc Reservoir Formation in Alberta.
In a week when gold prices suffered a setback at the hands of an unexpectedly hawkish Federal Reserve, Canadian junior gold miners and explorers seemed to be on a roll. Crystal Lake Mining Corporation (TSX-V: CLM) announced that it had found crucial evidence of unusually high-grade gold mineralization at the Newmont Lake Gold Corridor in British Columbia.
“This discovery is important as it demonstrates that the mineral zone actually increases in both width and in grade in areas where previous models indicate a narrowing of the mineral zone. Additionally, a second deeper horizon has been intersected in an area without gold mineralization in previous models adding to the exploration potential of the Newmont Lake gold corridor along the western flank of the Eskay Rift in north west BC,” the company told shareholders.
In further Canadian mining news, junior gold stock Victoria Gold (TSX-V: VIT) said it had started producing gold at its Eagle mine in the Yukon. Annual gold production is estimated at 200,000 oz. at an average all-in sustaining costs of US$750 per ounce. Victoria Gold’s Eagle mine, which is on track to be the largest gold mine in Yukon, is located on the Dublin Gulch property, 85 km northeast of Mayo.