To Asia and Back: Royal Nickel Corp.’s Unconventional Plans for Nickel

Royal Nickel Corp. (RNC) is a young Canadian company who is looking to break into the Canadian nickel industry, in a very different way. They want to mine nickel concentrate in Quebec, and then send it to Asia to be roasted. The end product will be an ~ 29% nickel concentrate that they plan to sell to smelters in North America for use in electric vehicle batteries. They view sending their concentrates to Asia as a large financial advantage because of the difference in cost between Canadian and Asian roasters. The Canadian nickel industry is dominated by a few large companies who control smelters, taking 20-30% of the value of the ores and concentrates they roast; Asian roasters would only take 5% of the nickel value. This all sounds great on paper, but many in the industry are sceptical that RNC’s plan will work. The chemistry of pig iron ore is much different than the concentrates mined by RNC, although they want them processed in a similar way. In the future, RNC wants to build their own roaster, but they are still asking for $1 billion to start the Dumont project in Quebec, so they may not be ready for their own roaster just yet. If RNC is successful they will be able to provide low-cost nickel and will have a big impact on the Canadian nickel market; they are hoping to produce more than 50,000 tonnes of nickel per year.

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