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Vale Announces Nickel Production Numbers for Q3 of 2019

Metal News - Published on Wed, 16 Oct 2019

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Production of finished nickel reached 51.4 kt in 3Q19, 14.2% higher than 2Q19 and 7.7% lower than 3Q18. The increase over 2Q19 is due to the resumption to regular production from Sudbury and PTVI source feed after the scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activities at the Copper Cliff Nickel Refinery, in Sudbury, as well as at the Clydach, Matsusaka and Long Harbour refineries. Nickel sales volumes were 50.9 kt in 3Q19, 11.5% lower than 2Q19, as a result of the higher sales in 2Q19 from the drawdown of saleable product inventories at that time.

Production resumed to regular rates in 3Q19, after being impacted by scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activities at North Atlantic refineries during 2Q19 which gradually resumed throughout the third quarter. All refineries should operate at regular rates for the full fourth quarter which will help to a stronger production upcoming quarter. The North Atlantic operations are now operating as planned and also drawing down previously stockpiled material that had been accumulated during the period of maintenance shutdowns at the refineries – the accumulation of intermediate feed that is currently being refined reflects the lack of any impacts on the upstream mine, mill and smelting activities.

Production from Sudbury source ore reached 13.3 kt in 3Q19, 38.5% and 44.6% higher than 2Q19 and 3Q18, respectively, reflecting the return to operation, throughout 3Q19, after the unscheduled maintenance at Copper Cliff Nickel Refinery and the scheduled maintenance activities at the Clydach refinery, in Wales, in which started in 2Q19. Copper Cliff Nickel Refinery activities were still impacted by some operational issues in September, that have now been fully restored. Production increased vs. 3Q18 as, last year, Sudbury underwent scheduled maintenance.

Production from Thompson source ore reached 2.7 kt in 3Q19, 3.8% and 42.1% higher than 2Q19 and 3Q18, respectively. Production increases were mainly due to timing of inventory utilization through the supply chain.

Production from Voisey’s Bay source ore reached 8.7 kt in 3Q19, 2.4% and 3.6% higher than 2Q19 and 3Q18, respectively, mainly as as result of Long Harbour ramping up to operation after maintenance in June.

Indonesian operation (PTVI) -
Production of finished nickel from PTVI reached 18.5 kt in 3Q19, 40.2% higher than 2Q19 and 10.2% lower than 3Q18. Production was higher than in 2Q19 as both Matsusaka and Clydach refineries returned to full operation after the scheduled maintenance activities in 2Q19, as well as a result of processing part of PTVI source feed through the Dalian refinery with a shorter route to market. Production decreased vs. 3Q18 as the Clydach refinery produced higher quantities of PTVI source finished nickel in that quarter. Nickel in matte production at the PTVI site reached 19.8 kt in 3Q19, 12.5% and 5.3% higher than 2Q19 and 3Q18, respectively. Performance was strong in 3Q19, reaching the highest production for a third quarter since 2017,

New Caledonia operation (VNC) - Production of finished nickel from VNC reached 6.4 kt in 3Q19, 8.5% higher than 2Q19 and 14.7% lower than 3Q18. Production increased vs. 2Q19 due to the shorter route to market associated with the nickel hydroxide cake, whose share in the product mix was increased in 3Q19. Production decreased vs. 3Q18 as VNC source feed was being processed at higher rates at Dalian refinery in 3Q18. Production of nickel oxide and nickel hydroxide cake at the VNC site reached 6.3 kt in 3Q19, 21.2% higher than 2Q19 and 8.7% lower than 3Q18. Nickel oxide represented 57% and nickel hydroxide cake 43% of VNC’s 3Q19 site production. The share of nickel hydroxide cake increased as a result of operational issues at the roasters, which limited, in the month of September, the production of nickel oxide at the site.

Brazilian operation (Onca Puma) - Production at Onca Puma reached 0.1 kt in 3Q19, reflecting the stoppage, in June 2019, of all nickel processing activities at the site following a judicial order. Mining activities in Onça Puma had been suspended since 2017. In September, Vale received a favourable decision by the courts, with the support of reports from appointed experts, and both mining and processing activities have been allowed to be resumed. The processing activities have immediately restarted their ramp-up whereas mining activities are being prepared, with hiring and training of personnel at the mine site. Processing activities are being resumed using lower grade previously stockpiled ore, higher grade ore from the mine will increase production in the upcoming quarters, as the ramp-up of the mine activities is completed.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 16 Oct 2019
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