Image taken without permission from Minera Loma de Niquel website, click for original.
Anglo American has a nickel mine in Venezuela. A month from now, from what I hear, that won’t be the case. The concessions now being mined expire Nov. 11 along with the site environmental permit, according to a person familiar with the situation. The government hasn’t renewed the concessions, so it’s lame duck time for them. The company now has a month to comply with its permit requirements — including returning the site in pristine condition. That won’t happen. The site ain’t in bad shape as mines go, but it has some big gouges in the ground where scoops pick up damp, crumbly, pale-blue ore, dump it on trucks, which dump it into some of the most ridiculously hot furnaces you can imagine (1650°C), where the nickel is smelted out and turned into dark pellets that are cooled in little water pools and then loaded into containers (very shallow, or the container would be too heavy) and trucked to Puerto Cabello and thence to points unknown.
The writing has been on the wall for years, as Anglo American has been writing down the value of its sole remaining Venezuelan asset. Continue reading →