MAC: Mines and Communities

Chinese Imports Of Nickel Ore To Surge

Published by MAC on 2007-02-13
Source: Shanghai Daily

Chinese imports of nickel ore to surge

Shanghai Daily

13th February 2007

Atlas Consolidated Mining & Development Corp has said it plans to ship 45,000 metric tons of low-grade nickel ore from the Philippines to China this month, more than doubling January's exports to the world's biggest consumer of refined nickel.

The company, the second-largest Philippine miner by market value, exported 19,000 tons of the ore to China from its Berong mine last month, Atlas Executive Vice President Martin Buckingham said in an interview in Manila, without naming the company buying the ore.

China's imports of low-grade nickel ores from the Philippines may reduce pressure on global stockpiles of the refined metal, which fell to the lowest in 15 years on February 6. Nickel prices have more than doubled in the past year, prompting China to produce more of the metal from cheaper imported ores.

"One of the most important developments in the nickel market over the past 15 months has been the massive increase in China's production of low-grade ferronickel," Goldman Sachs JBWere Pty Ltd, the Australian affiliate of the world's most profitable investment bank, said on Friday.

Nickel for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell one percent, to US$35,800 a ton as of 9:13am local time yesterday. The metal traded at a record US$38,950 on January 26.

"China is where most of the demand is," Buckingham said. China increased production of nickel from low-cost laterite ores last year as the price of the refined metal surged.

Laterite ores, containing nickel and cobalt, are processed using blast furnaces into nickel pig iron, containing about one to three percent nickel that can be used by stainless steel makers to produce goods such as sinks, cutlery, pots, pans and appliances.

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