NICKLE Asia Corp. (NAC), the country’s largest nickel producer, on Monday said its shipments of nickel ore rose 38 percent in the first nine months of this year citing strong metal prices brought about by Indonesia’s ore export ban.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, NAC said that its four operating mines sold an aggregate of 14.26 million wet metric tons (WMT) from January to September, up 38 percent from 10.32 million WMT a year ago.
The estimated value of NAC’s total shipments was pegged at P20.6 billion, or 165 percent higher than the P7.8 billion recorded in the same period last year.
NAC attributed the growth in shipment volumes to increased ore deliveries to its processing plants, particularly to the Taganito high pressure acid leach (HPAL) facility, which is now on its first full year of commercial operations. As a result, the company said that the two HPAL plants processed 5.38 million WMT in 2014, compared to 2.81 million WMT in 2013.
Direct exports of ore also contributed to the company’s higher shipments to 8.87 million WMT in 2014, from 7.50 million WMT in 2013.
“We are delighted that the company was able to post strong volume growth, both in terms of ore deliveries to our two processing plants, as well as direct ore exports. As a result, we were able to capitalize on the strong prices that we are now experiencing,” said Gerard Brimo, NAC president and chief executive officer.
Brimo said the effect of the Indonesian ore export ban that started in January this year has led to a rapid surge in ore prices to Chinese customers, which is significantly higher than the increase experienced in London Metal Exchange prices.