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Vale Q3 production and sales overview of Nickel

Metal News - Published on Wed, 17 Oct 2018

Image Source: SteelGuru
As anticipated in the last production and sales report, Sudbury conducted its annual scheduled maintenance shutdown and Thompson transitioned to a mine-mill operation, with its concentrate being sent to the Sudbury smelter for further processing. As a consequence, production of finished nickel reached 55,7001 in 3Q18,15.9% lower than in 2Q18.

In 4Q18, nickel production is expected to reach close to 60,000 t as Sudbury returned from its annual scheduled maintenance shutdown in mid-September.

Sales volumes of nickel were 57,3001 in 3Q18, a decrease compared to 2Q18. Sales volumes did not decrease to the same extent as the production in 3Q18 mainly due to a drawdown of finished inventory in the quarter versus a buildup in 2Q18.

Canadian operations
Production from the Sudbury mines reached 9,2001 in 3Q18, 4,100 t lower than in 2Q18. The decrease compared to 2Q18 was mainly due to the 3Q18 scheduled maintenance shutdown that impacted mines and surface plants. The scheduled shutdown included the completion of the Atmospheric Emission Reduction (AER) project.

Production from the Thompson mines reached 1,9001 in 3Q18, 3,9001 lower than in 2Q18. In 3Q18, Thompson transitioned fully to a mine and mill operation and its concentrate will be processed in Sudbury for the foreseeable future. In 3Q18 Thompsons finished nickel production was impacted as Thompson's feed was not processed during Sudbury's scheduled maintenance. Production from the Voisey's Bay mine reached 8,400 t in 3Q18, 1,100 t lower than in 2Q18. The decrease was mainly due to the strategic decision to decrease production output to extend the mine's lifespan to match the Voysey's Bay Mine Extension - VBME underground development schedule. Production at the Long Harbour processing plant reached 8,3001 in 3Q18, 600 t lower than in 2Q18 as a result of the scheduled maintenance shutdown in August 2018.

Indonesian operation
PTVI nickel in matte production reached 18,800 t in 3Q18, in line with 2Q18. Production of finished nickel from PTVI reached 20,6001 in 3Q18, 15.7% higher than in 2Q18. The increase was mainly due to having established healthy feed stock inventory levels in previous periods, therefore Clydach consumed PTVI source material at high rates without compromising future production. PTVI source feed represents a primary source of feed at Class I Clydach rather than at our Class II Utility Nickel refineries. This represents a longer route to market but aims to maximize production of higher value carbonyl Class I products, in line with Vale's margin optimization strategy for the nickel business.

New Caledonia operation (VNC)
All the viable options for a stable and profitable operation that may lead to a sustainable business in the long haul are being assessed. Vale is supportive of its New Caledonian business and is currently studying options that, among other alternatives, include a revamped mining plan to enhance value generation from the asset and explore its cobalt potential in support of the EV batteries market. Vale is aiming to reach a decision on which alternative will be followed, possibly until the end of this year.

Production of NiO and NHC (nickel oxide and nickel hydroxide cake) at the VNC site (prior to shipping to Dalian in China for refining) was 6,900 t in 3Q18, 8% lower than in 2Q18. The decrease was mainly related to lower ore deliveries from the mine and refinery limitations. Additional trucks were added to the mining fleet in September to increase mine production in 4Q18. NiO accounted for 86% and NHC for 14% of VNC's 3Q18 site production.

Production of finished products from VNC source material reached 7,500 t in 3Q18, 20.2% lower than in 2Q18. Production was lower as higher levels of NiO were sent to Dalian to be refined into Utility Nickel during 3Q18, whereas in 2Q18 part of NiO was sold directly to the market in response to product demand, including in the EV battery supply chain. The difference in the time required to have nickel oxide sold immediately to the market as a saleable product and the lead time required to transport and refine it into Utility Nickel at the Dalian refinery were factors that reduced VNC source production in 3Q18.

Brazilian operation (Onga Puma)
Production from the Onga Puma operation reached 6,100 t in 3Q18, 8.9% higher than 2Q18. Production was higher than in 2Q18 due to greater furnace availability.

Source :

Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 17 Oct 2018
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