The Philippine unit of Canada’s TVI Pacific Inc. has completed four outbound shipments of nickel ore in July this year from its joint-venture Agata Nickel Laterite Project in Mindanao.
In a report, TVI Pacific said Agata Mining Ventures Inc. (AMVI) completed the shipment of 223,854 wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel limonite ore with an estimated value of $3.9 million.
The Agata project is held by AMVI, a joint venture company in which TVI’s local affiliate TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) owns a 60 percent interest and is the operator; while the remaining interest is held by Mindoro Resources Ltd.
The report said the four shipments completed in July included three high iron/low nickel limonite ore shipments and one higher nickel-grade saprolite ore shipment, representing the 15th through 18th shipments completed by AMVI since operations commenced in October 2014.
Market prices for limonite ore containing 0.6 to 0.9 percent nickel and 49 percent iron content have fallen from an average of $22 per ton in the earlier part of 2014 down to $13 per ton when operations commenced in October 2014 and further down to $11 in recent months.
For saprolite ore containing over 1.5 percent nickel and 15 to 20 percent iron, prices have fallen from over $100 per ton in early 2014 to $27 per ton in recent weeks.
Clifford James, chairman and chief executive officer of TVI and chairman of TVIRD, said that AMVI’s shipment plans continue to adapt to depressed and volatile prices in the Philippine nickel laterite ore market.
“As the operator, TVIRD has put in a tremendous amount of effort to ensure that the Agata nickel laterite operations remain viable and to align its mining activities with today’s market conditions,” James said.
AMVI continues to explore and implement opportunities in its operational plans, mining activities and marketing strategies to increase cost efficiencies and to help ensure continual demand for its products.
Currently, AMVI is planning to complete approximately three to five shipments of nickel laterite ore in each coming month, subject primarily to weather conditions.
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.
As industry professionals expect nickel to realize an overall year-on-year growth, TVIRD is likewise confident that business will remain steady across the Asian direct markets.
And as both producers and the market expect more tightness in nickel demand and prices, it will be crucial for companies like TVIRD to adapt to the changing business environment, continuously explore new business opportunities and develop new resource projects for the future.
“We continue to be optimistic that the Agata operations, along with developments at other TVIRD projects, will support TVIRD in seeking a listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange later this year and provide TVI with a significant potential source of funding for new projects,” James added.