The Philippine unit of Canada’s TVI Pacific Inc. completed three shipments of nickel ore in April from its Agata Nickel Laterite Project in Mindanao.
A TVI Pacific report said Agata Mining Ventures Inc. (AMVI) has completed the shipments of 172,973 wet metric tons of nickel limonite ore, which has an estimated value of $4.2 million.
The shipments included two high iron/low nickel limonite ore and one higher nickel grade saprolite ore, representing the eleventh through thirteenth ship loads completed by AMVI since operations commenced in October 2014.
The Agata project is held by AMVI, a joint venture company in which TVI’s local affiliate TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD), holds a 60 percent interest. The remaining interest is held by Mindoro Resources Ltd.
TVI currently has a 30.66 percent interest in TVIRD as well as a 14.4 percent equity interest in Mindoro, and thereby has a 24.2 percent indirect ownership interest in AMVI.
TVI Pacific said that AMVI is adjusting its shipment schedule to make two shipments of higher nickel grade saprolite ore and up to two shipments of high iron/low nickel limonite ore per month, based on market prices and demand.
For May 2015, AMVI plans to make one shipment of saprolite ore instead of four shipments as originally expected for the month. This reduction is being made in light of currently depressed prices and low demand for all grades of nickel laterite ore in the Philippines.
As of end–April, limonite ore grading up to 0.9 percent nickel and 49 percent iron traded at $12 per ton, down 50 percent from early 2014; while saprolite ore containing 1.6 percent nickel traded at $32 per ton, down 40 percent since the end of 2014.
While AMVI has made great strides in ramping up production capacity in the last few months, volatility in Philippine nickel laterite prices has necessitated a high level of flexibility in the company’s operations.
“AMVI is closely monitoring market conditions and will continue adjusting its shipment schedule as necessary to ensure continued operational profitability,” said Clifford James, chairman and chief executive of TVI and chairman of TVIRD.
Despite this challenging situation, James said that they are anticipating a turnaround in nickel prices towards the latter part of the year, along with developments at other TVIRD projects.
“This will support TVIRD in seeking a listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange later this year – the achievement of which would enhance TVI’s 30.66 percent investment and provide us with a possible source of funding for future projects,” James said.