Nickel: Vale announces the shutdown of the South plant in New Caledonia. “Nou


Nickel and cobalt for electric batteries have a bright future. The South plant in New Caledonia has successfully adapted to this market. However, a manager of the Brazilian group Vale announced, on the financial channel Bloomberg TV, the end of production in 2021.

Vale said it is in talks with Tesla to consider partnerships to produce nickel in Canada to meet future demand for batteries used in the automotive industry. However, its chief financial officer, Luciano Siani Pires, told Bloomberg TV that Vale would stop, early next year, the production of nickel and cobalt at the South plant in New Caledonia. This decision is all the more surprising given that the Caledonian plant today produces nickel and cobalt for electric batteries. And that Canada will only produce enough in a few years …

Why stop the South factory?

This decision amazes nickel analysts at LME and in particular London’s leading trader, Marex Spectron: “While the agreement with Tesla in Canada will take time to materialize and the demand for nickel will exceed supply, one wonders why Vale has decided to stop production and put its plant into upkeep and maintenance. Caledonian, which produces the right type of nickel used in batteries “ said Anna Stablum, an expert on the Asian nickel and cobalt market.

We did not find a buyer

Interviewed by Bloomberg TV from Vale’s headquarters in Brazil, the multinational’s chief financial officer first spoke of the very positive outlook for nickel in the electric battery market. “In these conditions, in New Caledonia, is it a bit strange to sell or close a factory that produces batteries for the market? the Bloomberg presenter asked. “Unfortunately, we were not able to find a buyer, an industrialist who could have been able to develop the site, New Caledonia, it is true with a significant potential, but anyway, the ‘factory did not obtain the expected results, we have not found a buyer, so we will put it on hold, in maintenance next year ” with Luciano Siani Pires.

The Brazilian management of Vale has therefore taken control of the Caledonian file. The efforts made by the management of the plant in the South and the Caledonian employees were not taken into account. A source familiar with the matter told Outre-mer La1ere that “Vale’s decision is also a scathing response to the failure of negotiations, yet on the verge of success, with the Australian New Century. Vale considers that the takeover operation has been destabilized, to make it fail.” . Vale should now inform the Caledonian authorities of its decision, the implementation of which will take time. All is not therefore lost for the plant in the South, new developments are still possible.

Reaction from Sébastien Lecornu, Minister of Overseas Affairs.

From his plane taking him to New Caledonia, the overseas minister reacted to remarks made on Bloomberg TV by Luciano Siani Pires, Vale’s chief financial officer. Sébastien Lecornu recalls that “The French overseas departments, Bercy and Matignon continue to follow this file closely. Vale’s statements do not constitute a new position and are identical to the press release published by Vale on September 8. The priority remains the same: the search for a buyer for the South plant “, a concluded the Minister in response to Outre-mer La 1ere.

World nickel price at the LME in London on 08/10/2020 at 16:30 GMT: 14,732 dollars / ton + 1.24%

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