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MOSCOW, February 1 (Itar-Tass) - In 2013, the MMC Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium, recorded a 5-percent drop in nickel production to 285,300 tonnes and a 3 percent fall in palladium output to 2.66 million ounces (82.77 tonnes) year-on-year, goes the company’s report.
A slight year-on-year decline in production of platinum-group metals (PGMs) resulted from lesser concentration of platinoids in the ores mined.
Last year's decline in nickel production resulted from a number of factors, including decreased supplies of nickel matte from the Transpolar division to Kolsk MMC, lesser supplies from Boliden and Talvivaara to Harjavalta plant in Finland, a decline in nickel content in ore mined in Tati mine (Africa), as well as a temporary shutdown of the Australian facility Lake Johnston.
Even so, nickel production matched the management’s forecast released early 2013, the report says.
Copper production increased 2 percent to 371,060 tonnes, whereas platinum output shrank 5 percent to 651,000 ounces (20.2 tonnes).
The MMC’s divisions in Russia reduced output of nickel 1 percent to 231,800 tonnes, palladium - 2 percent to 2.58 million ounces, platinum - 5 percent to 628,000 ounces. However, copper production went up 2 percent to 359,100 tonnes.
In 2014, Norilsk Nickel is planning to produce 225,000-235,000 tonnes of nickel in Russia. A year-on-year decline is possible due to the planned maintenance works of a furnace at the Nadezhda metallurgical plant, says the report.
The company’s projection for copper is 340,000-350,000 tonnes, which is also slightly less than in 2013 on a decline in tolling processing at Kolsk MMC and a marginal reduction of copper concentration in the ores mined.
Forecast for palladium production this year is 2.53-2.55 million ounces, platinum - 625,000-635,000 ounces, the amounts largely similar to the 2013 results.
In October 2013 Norilsk Nickel declared plans to maintain nickel output at the current level by 2018, while the production of copper, platinum and palladium is planned to be boosted 10-20 percent as compared to plans for 2013. By 2016 the annual production of nickel is planned to increase to 230-240,000 tonnes, by 2018 - to 225,000-235,000 tonnes.
Palladium production, according to the plan, will expand to 2.53-2.63 million ounces (79-82 tonnes) by 2016 and to 2.73-2.84 million ounces (85-88 tonnes) by 2018.
Meanwhile, copper production will grow to 360,000-375,000 tonnes by 2016 and to 380,000-400,000 tonnes by 2018. Should the company develop its Bystrinskoye field in Transbaikalia as planned, copper output may increase 420,000-445,000 tonnes a year.
Platinum production is set to grow to 615,000-640,000 ounces (19-20 tonnes) by 2016 and to 665,000-690,000 ounces (20.7-21.5 tonnes) by 2018.
MMC Norilsk Nickel is a diversified mining and metallurgical company, the leading producer of platinum, cobalt, copper and rhodium. The company also mines gold, silver, iridium, osmium, selenium, ruthenium and tellurium.
In 2012 Norilsk Nickel produced 300,340 tonnes of nickel, 84.9 tonnes of palladium, 363,800 tonnes of copper and 21.2 tonnes of platinum.