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Anthony Milewski: LME Week Likely to Play Major Role in Nickel Pricing for 2018

Anthony discusses how the London Metal Exchange gathering takes place this week. It is a meeting of all of the producers and consumers for base metals in London. It’s a time when they come together and discuss the market trends, plan and may even begin putting together contracts for specific base metals. It often sets the tone for the year. Last year cobalt was the big news out of LME week. This year Anthony thinks there will greater interest centered around nickel.

Last year the cobalt trade got a lot of attention and this year will focus will likely be on nickel. There is a bifurcation of the nickel market. He thinks that we will see that specific types of nickel are very much in demand due to battery applications and will head into deficit. These products have premiums, and the broader market will begin to consider the ramifications.

Nickel will be in increasingly high demand due to the electric vehicle battery market. He feels a huge premium will open up over the high-quality nickel market while the lower end pig-iron nickel market won’t change as much.

Copper is a very liquid market however a significant amount will be required in electric vehicles. It will take awhile for this demand to ramp up but it’s coming. Another question one needs to ask is what happens to the electric grid once electric vehicles become commonplace. It seems likely that much of the power network will require upgrades and that will likewise require additional copper. Copper has an exciting few years ahead.

Talking Points From This Week’s Episode
• LME gathering takes place in London this week.
• LME focus likely to be on nickel.
• Nickel market will bifurcate as high-quality nickel is needed in batteries.
• Demand for copper is likely to increase over the mid to long-term.

Mr. Milewski has spent his career in various aspects of the mining industry, including as a company director, advisor, founder and investor. In particular, he has been active in the battery metals industry including investing in cobalt and actively trading physical cobalt. In 2016, one of the industry’s leading publications, “The Mining Journal,” named him as a Future Mining Leader.

Mr. Milewski has managed numerous mining investments at various stages of development, including exploration, development, production and turnaround situations, and across a broad range of commodities. He has served as a director of both public and private companies and has been seconded as interim CEO on multiple occasions. Mr. Milewski is a member of the investment team at Pala Investments Limited. Prior to joining Pala Investments, he worked at Firebird Management LLC.

Mr. Milewski previously worked at Renaissance Capital and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Moscow, where he focused on advisory and transactional work in metals & mining and oil & gas sectors. He has lived and worked in Africa and Russia, including a year as a Fulbright scholar, and has spent considerable time in Central Asia.

Mr. Milewski holds a B.A. in Russian history from Brigham Young University, an M.A. in Russian and Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington, and a J.D. from the University of Washington. He holds an LLM from the Russian Academy of Sciences.