May 13, 2017: Nickel prices threatened by potential export lift from Indonesia, Philippines

May 13, 2017: Nickel prices threatened by potential export lift from Indonesia, Philippines
 

It may be going from bad to worse for the nickel price, with conciliatory comments from the new mining minister in top ore producer the Philippines adding to the risks of the market being pushed into oversupply.

Former army general Roy Cimatu was appointed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on May 8 to replace Regina Lopez, whose confrontational approach to mining won her friends among environmentalists but not among enough politicians, resulting in her dismissal by the Southeast Asian nation’s Congress.

Cimatu was cautious in initial comments to the media, in stark contrast to the firebrand approach of his predecessor, who shut down almost half the country’s mines, citing environmental breaches.

“There are countries where mining contributes a lot to the economy and environmentalists are not screaming,” Cimatu told Reuters in a phone interview on May 9. “I think it can be done … (balancing) environment (protection) and responsible mining.”

Cimatu’s comments suggest that miners can breathe easier.

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