October 24, 2019 / 4:18 AM / 20 days ago

METALS-Nickel hits over 1-wk high on Ramu project closure in Papua New Guinea

(Updates prices, adds details)

By Mai Nguyen

SINGAPORE, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Nickel prices touched a more than one-week high on Thursday, after authorities in Papua New Guinea shut down a nickel project following a slurry spill.

Papua New Guinea has closed Metallurgical Corporation of China’s Ramu nickel operations in the country for spilling slurry into a bay in August and “for not adhering to remedial measures”.

The most traded nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) jumped as much as 4.2% to 134,120 yuan ($18,981.04) a tonne, its highest since Oct. 15, while benchmark three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) advanced as much as 1.5% to $16,830 a tonne, its highest since Oct. 16.

ShFE nickel ended up 3.4% while LME nickel rose 1.1% at 0704 GMT.

“I think it’s fair enough that the fundamentals are supporting higher nickel prices. Earlier in the week, we had a Norilsk Nickel’s mine accident as well,” said a trader.

Three people were killed on Tuesday in an accident at major producer Norilsk Nickel’s Taimyr underground mine in Siberia.

FUNDAMENTALS

* NICKEL: The London Metal Exchange has asked members to report any unusual activity in nickel trading after prices lurched up and down in the wake of large transactions last week, sources familiar with the matter said.

* NICKEL ORE: Indonesia’s mining ministry is revising a rule that governs the domestic price of nickel ore to ensure smelters follow government benchmark prices, after complaints from nickel miners that domestic smelters were pushing down ore price.

* NPI: French miner and metals producer Eramet said on Wednesday its Weda Bay Nickel plant in Indonesia would start operation ahead of schedule in the first half of 2020, and it reiterated production targets for this year.

* COPPER: The copper market should see a deficit of 320,000 tonnes this year and a surplus of 281,000 tonnes in 2020, the International Copper Study Group said on Wednesday.

* CHILE: Chile’s Codelco, the world’s top copper miner, said it had resumed normal operations after its unionized workers struck a deal with government officials late on Wednesday to end a day-long walk-off amid a week of protests in Chile.

* PRICES: LME copper was almost unchanged, aluminium eased 0.1%, zinc rose 1% and lead fell 0.1%. ShFE copper rose 0.7%, aluminium advanced 0.3% while zinc was flat.

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PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

ARBS ($1 = 7.0660 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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