Nickel Asia ore production up, but revenues down
Nickel Asia Corp. Thursday reported a 10.3-percent jump in its ore output volume for the first half of 2013, which reached a total of 5.54 million wet metric tons (WMT).
However, the company also said the estimated value of shipments for January-June was pegged at P4.14 billion, representing a 20-percent drop.
Gerard H. Brimo, Nickel Asia president and chief executive, said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange that the price of nickel ore remains low because of the slow economic growth worldwide as well as the increasing availability of processed nickel amid a slew of facilities that recently went online.
“Nevertheless, demand for some of our ore types continue to do well and we are pleased to see continued growth in our shipment volumes,” Brimo said.
Quoting London Metal Exchange rates, Nickel Asia said the 1.97 million WMT it sold in the first semester and which is now payable yielded an average $7.54 per pound.
This was 12.3 percent lower than the average $8.60 realized on payable nickel during the first half of 2012.
The rest of the shipments were sold at a negotiated price that averaged $20.14 per WMT of ore, which is even lower year-on-year by 23.7 percent from $26.41.
The country’s largest producer of lateritic nickel ore operates four mines, namely Rio Tuba in Palawan, Cagdianao in the Dinagat Island, Taganito in Surigao del Norte and Taganaan in Hinatuan Island.
The Rio Tuba mine represented more than half (53 percent) of total shipment with 1.07 million WMT of saprolite ore and 1.87 million WMT of limonite ore.
The Taganito mine contributed 675,000 WMT of saprolite ore and 402,000 WMT of limonite ore including a 32,000-WMT initial cargo for the new Taganito plant that uses the high-pressure acid leaching process or HPAL.
Nickel Asia said the commissioning of the Taganito HPAL plant “is proceeding well and commercial production is expected to start in the fourth quarter.”
The facility is expected to start processing operations in 2014 with a capacity of 30,000 tons of nickel and 26,000 tons of cobalt yearly to produce a mixed sulphide product.
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