Nickel Rally Fades, Electric Vehicle Buzz doesn’t

Last week’s rally to a five-month high of $13,350 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange has gone into sharp reverse. Nickel was trading back at $12,385 on Tuesday.

The trigger for the price surge was concern that Brazilian producer Vale’s nickel operations would suffer some sort of knock-on effect from the devastating tailings collapse at the company’s Brumadinho iron ore mine.

There may still be ramifications for Vale’s Onca Puma ferronickel operations in the state of Para.

But nickel’s ability to rally at all in the current gloomy macroeconomic environment is testament to continued investor interest in the metal’s potential demand boost from the electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

Even after the rapid descent from last week’s highs, nickel is still the best performer among the core LME metals pack. It is up 14 percent since the start of January, compared with zinc’s 10 percent gains.


Although most analysts were quick to dismiss fears that Onca Puma would be impacted by the regulatory scrutiny surrounding all of Vale’s tailings dams in Brazil, nickel’s price reaction wasn’t irrational.

Onca Puma, which last year produced 25,000 tonnes of nickel in ferronickel, is itself the subject of a multi-year battle with environmental authorities in Brazil.

A Brazilian court last November ordered Vale to stop mining at Onca Puma and to pay damages to two indigenous tribes that live in the area.

The prosecutor-general’s office said Vale would not be allowed to resume mining until it meets certain environmental requirements and presents plans aimed at mitigating the impact of its operations on locals.

Spread the love

Neal Bhai has been involved in the Bullion and Metals markets since 1998 – he has experience in many areas of the market from researching to trading and has worked in Delhi, India. Mobile No. - 9899900589 and 9582247600

Leave a Comment