JOHANNESBURG, Jan 12 (Reuters) - 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 banned 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 (LME) was up 3.3% at $17,650 a tonne by 1700 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 the initial area. If it does, then impact is significant,” one trader said.
Meanwhile, French mining group Eramet warned that its nickel subsidiary in New Caledonia is at risk of entering liquidation within weeks if protests continue to disrupt its operations.
INVENTORIES: Total nickel stocks in LME-registered warehouses climbed by 372 tonnes to their highest since August 2018 at 249,198 tonnes, having grown by about 60% last year. MNISTX-TOTAL
Cancelled warrants - material earmarked for delivery - stand at 25%.
SPREADS: LME cash nickel's discount against the three-month contract CMNI0-3, at around $55 a tonne, is down from a six-month high of $67.50 touched in December. This points to an easing of oversupply concerns in the LME system.
OTHER PRICES: LME three-month copper advanced 1.4% to $7,977 a tonne, aluminium edged up 0.6% to $2,021.50, zinc gained 0.5% to $2,781, lead jumped 2.9% to $2,023 and tin was up 0.9% at $20,890.
Reporting by Zandi Shabalala Additional reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz Editing by Mark Potter and David Goodman