Nickel Asia reports 8% ore output growth
Nickel Asia Corp. on Thursday reported an 8-percent year-on-year increase in its ore output volume for the first nine months of 2013 to 10.32 million wet metric tons (WMT).
However, as nickel prices remained in the doldrums, the company said the estimated value of ore shipments for January to September registered an 18-percent drop to P7.67 billion.
Gerard H. Brimo, Nickel Asia president and chief executive, said in a statement that the company was “still fortunate” considering that demand remained high.
Also, Nickel Asia expects to start soon the commercial operations of a processing plant in its Taganito project in Surigao del Norte.
Brimo said that at full capacity, the plant’s throughput was pencilled in at 4.5 million WMT, which would come from the Taganito mine.
“We can therefore look forward to further growth of our ore sales next year,”Brimo added.
Earlier, the company said the commissioning of the Taganito processing plant “is proceeding well and commercial production is expected to start in the fourth quarter.”
Of the total nine-month volume, Nickel Asia sold—now payable—2.52 million WMT of ore at an average of $7.11 per pound. This represents a 14-percent fall from $8.27 per pound a year ago.
The rest of the output was sold at negotiated prices averaging $19.34 per WMT of ore, down 22 percent from $24.75.
Nickel Asia, the country’s largest producer of lateritic nickel ore, operates three other mines such as Rio Tuba in Palawan, Cagdianao in the Dinagat Island and Hinatuan on the island of the same name.
The Rio Tuba mine accounted for 43 percent of total shipments during the period, with 1.34 million WMT of saprolite ore and 3.13 million WMT of limonite ore.
The Taganito mine chipped in 1.15 million WMT of saprolite ore and 1.34 WMT of limonite ore including 272,000 WMT for the new Taganito plant that uses the high-pressure acid leaching process or HPAL.
Further, the Hinatuan mine produced 2.69 million WMT of mostly high-iron limonite ore while the Cagdianao mine churned out 240,000 WMT of saprolite ore.
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