SHANGHAI, Aug 9 (SMM) – The largest high-grade nickel ore supplier in the Philippines, SR Languyan Mining Corp, will stop mining in October, due to resource depletion, SMM learned.
The miner, located in Tawi-Tawi, now can ship about 600,000 wmt of nickel ore in a month, with an average Ni grade of above 1.5%.
Another mine nearby, Altawitawi Nickel Corp (ANC), is also verging on resource exhaustion. It has stopped output of high-grade ore, and medium-grade tailings are its major products.
Resource depletion or degradation have been major concerns for mines in Tawi-Tawi, given the early start of exploitation.
The potential shutdown of SR Languyan, together with Indonesia’s tighter grips over raw ore exports, is set to tighten supplies of high-grade nickel ore and grow the possibility of a supply shortage.
The Philippines and Indonesia are major suppliers of nickel ore.
Nickel prices soared this week, on fears over the possibility that Indonesia could bring forward a ban on exports of unprocessed ore. A renewed export ban will likely create shortfalls in China.
Three-month LME nickel climbed to a 16-month high of $16,690/mt on Thursday, while the most traded SHFE October contract hit a fresh record high of 127,180 yuan/mt overnight.
Uncertainty over nickel ore supplies, low nickel inventories and the absence of substantial supply surpluses at smelting and refining stages will continue to support nickel longs to hold their positions, which will extend the nickel rally.