Base Metals Weekly Round-Up: Nickel Comes Out on Top

Base Metals Investing

What happened in the base metals space this week? Here’s a look at the top stories covered by the Investing News Network.

Though some base metals merely experienced short-lived gains this week, nickel prices managed to grow up, up and away.

Starting the week at US$12,060 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange (LME), the commodity maintained a consistent upward trend to land at US$12,660 by Thursday (June 27).

Lead saw a similarly strong week, growing from Monday’s (June 24) US$1,887 per tonne price point to reach US$1,919 by Wednesday (June 26). The commodity hit a snag on Thursday, however, when it dropped to US$1,912 on the LME.

Also making gains only to fall by mid-week was copper, which started the week at US$5,916 per tonne and climbed past the US$6,000 mark to US$6,005 by Wednesday. Like lead, the red metal took a hit on Thursday as it fell from grace to US$5,953 on the LME.

As for zinc, the base metal peaked on Tuesday (June 25) at a price point of US$2,643 per tonne, only to spend the next two days tumbling down to US$2,517.

Meanwhile, iron ore prices fluctuated through the week, reaching a 52 week high on Wednesday when the commodity closed at US$109.19 per tonne. The metal simmered to US$108.72 by Thursday’s official close.

Top News Stories

1. Glencore Mine Collapse Kills at Least 19 Miners

A partial mine collapse has left at least 19 miners dead at Kamoto Copper Company’s KOV copper-cobalt mine in Southeast Congo, with the share price of parent company Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) tumbling in its wake.

According to Richard Muyej, the governor of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Lualaba province, the accident took place within the open-pit mine, which he said is a “delicate site” with many risks.

“It was caused by the clandestine artisanal diggers who have infiltrated (the mine),” Muyej told Reuters. “The old terraces gave way, causing significant amounts of material to fall.”

2. Sandfire to Take Over MOD with Improved AU$167 Million Offer

Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR,OTCQB:SRAFF) has succeeded in its second attempt at taking over MOD Resources (ASX:MOD,LSE:MOD) with a new offer of AU$0.45 per share or AU$167 million.

In January, the major miner tried to buy out MOD with a bid of AU$0.38 per share or AU$113 million. While Sandfire’s AU$1 billion market cap overshadows MOD’s comparatively modest AU$121.5 million cap, the latter stood its ground on the basis of its T3 copper project in Botswana.

The takeover offer was turned down, as MOD believed Sandfire had undervalued the company’s assets.

3. Sibanye-Stillwater Sells Majority Stake in Marathon

Sibanye-Stillwater (NYSE:SBGL,JSE:SGL) has entered an agreement to sell a 51 percent stake in its Marathon platinum-group metals (PGMs)-copper project to Generation Mining for C$3 million.

The deal will entail Sibanye receiving the aforementioned C$3 million upfront in cash, along with over 11.05 million shares of Generation Mining — representing a 12.9 percent interest in the company — once the agreement closes. The transaction is expected to close before mid-July.

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman commented on the agreement in a statement released Wednesday (June 26), highlighting the win-win scenario that it provides for both companies.

Also in the news

Despite hoping for a production restart at the end of this month, Nyrstar (OTC Pink:NYRSY,EBR:NYR) announced on Friday that its Port Pirie lead smelter outage would continue into July. The multi-metal miner said the force majeure it declared earlier this month would be ongoing, and that the TSL furnace and blast furnace would likely restart in July’s second week.

Meanwhile, in Chile, a two week strike at state-owned copper producer Codelco’s Chuquicamata mine came to an end as the asset’s three labor unions accepted the company’s latest offer. The strike followed after a labor deal fell through between the company and its employees, with workers fighting for fair treatment and benefits such as retirement and healthcare.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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