Despite high prices and strong demand for many metals and minerals, mining companies are finding it harder to make new projects profitable. As a result, companies are delaying projects or closing mines. BHP Billiton, Perilya and Teck Cominco have all announced closures or plans to limit output of some mines. Soaring costs for energy, building materials and, for nickel produces, sulfuric acid, are largely to blame. Customers are also finding alternatives to metals, leading to some erosion in demand. In addition, prices for zinc and nickel have fallen recently.
Source: Wall Street Journal