SHANGHAI, Dec 7 (SMM)—Vale's chief financial officer, Luciano siani Pires, said a few months ago that its Goro nickel-cobalt mine in New Caledonia could begin to suspend in 2021 as the company failed to reach a sale agreement with New Century Resources Limited (NCZ) on VNC (Novele Caledonie SAS).
VNC's Goro nickel-cobalt production started in 2011, with annual capacity of intermediate products of nickel hydro-metallurgy (MHP) of 60,000 mt (Ni content). The Goro (VNC) supplied about 33,000 mt (Ni content) of nickel-cobalt ore in 2020, and the figure is expected to rise to 35,000 mt (Ni content) in 2021.
In the new energy vehicle (NEV) market, most of the participants are optimistic about ternary battery consumption in 2021, and SMM expects the demand for ternary batteries to increase by more than 30% in 2021. As MHP accounts for the largest proportion (more than 50%) in raw materials used to produce battery-grade nickel sulphate, potential suspension of Goro in 2021 raised concerns on MHP supply.
However, as SMM learned recently, a large trader has taken over Vale's stake in the Goro nickel-cobalt mine, and production of MHP will continue next year.