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Nickel prices boosted by Philippines ban on mining island

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stopped mining on Tumbagan Island in Languyan, in Tawi-Tawi province.
  • Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange was up 3.3% to $17,655 per tonne at 1315 GMT, making it the biggest gainer among base metals.
Published January 12, 2021
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JOHANNESBURG: Nickel prices jumped on Tuesday after major producer the Philippines ordered a halt on mining on an island that is home to some projects.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stopped mining on Tumbagan Island in Languyan, in Tawi-Tawi province, over concerns about the environmental impact.

Although the order did not cover the country's nickel mining hub in Caraga region, the potential supply disruption boosted prices.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange was up 3.3% to $17,655 per tonne at 1315 GMT, making it the biggest gainer among base metals.

"This seems like it's a small part of nickel mining in the Philippines, so it's interesting to note but I don't think it has a large influence on actual supply," said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann.

The Philippines is the biggest supplier of nickel ores to top metals consumer China.

"Impact is minimal but depends on whether it extends beyond initial area, if it does then impact is significant," a trader said.

Meanwhile, French mining group Eramet warned its nickel subsidiary in New Caledonia risked going into liquidation within weeks if protests continued to disrupt its operations.

INVENTORIES: But stocks in warehouses registered with the LME climbed by 372 tonnes to their highest since August 2018 at 249,198 tonnes, having added about 60% last year.

DOLLAR: The stronger dollar made greenback-priced metals more expensive to holders of other currencies, reducing their appeal.

COLUMN: Funds still in the driving seat as copper hits fresh highs.

OTHER PRICES: LME three-month copper advanced 1.5% to $7,980 a tonne, aluminium edged up 0.9% to $2,027, zinc gained 0.8% to $2,787, lead rose 0.5% to $1,976, while tin added 0.7% to $$20,919.

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