BHP Billiton moved closer to developing Australia's second-biggest un-mined uranium deposit by applying for environmental permits, but warned it might mothball or sell a big nickel refinery as that market languishes.

Trace metals in the sea turned the course of the earth's history. A nickel starvation that occurred billions of years ago gave rise to the dominance of oxygen, says S Ananthanarayanan

Xstrata said on Tuesday it had shut down a ferronickel mining and processing operation in the Dominican Republic for at least four months due to soaring energy costs and lower nickel prices.

The Switzerland-based mining group said that its Falconbridge Dominicana (Falcondo) operation, which each year produced 29,000 tonnes or 2 per cent of the world's primary nickel, would be suspended until market conditions improved.

Russia's environmental watchdog yesterday said it had filed a Rbs4.35bn ($180m) pollution suit against Norilsk Nickel, the Russian mining group, in its largest ever environmental complaint against a Russian company.

A report by a scientist claiming Indian chocolates are deliciously dangerous because they contain excessive cancer-causing nickel has sent the manufacturers to court and set off a panic among

the us energy department is abando