French miner Eramet plans to increase nickel output from its Indonesian mine this year, the company indicated in its 2020 outlook.

 

Eramet, which exceeded its 2019 nickel exports target of 1.5mn wmt by 0.1mn wmt to reach1.6mn wmt, said it would export 2.5mn wmt of nickel ore in 2020.

 

The company’s nickel ore output is expected to rise with the Weda Bay mine commencing operations in Indonesia during H1 2020. Eramet forecasts annual nickel ore production of 6mn wmt, with more than 3mn wmt to be produced in 2020.

 

The company listed the coronavirus outbreak, as well as a volatile global economic environment, among the risks that could impact its 2020 outlook. To prepare for such possibilities, Christel Bories, Eramet’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the company was adopting a “cautious and controlled” strategy on its cash position, and that it had also revised its investments schedule, especially in Gabon and Argentina.

 

The company’s nickel ore production rose by 15pc to 4.7mn wmt in 2019, despite strikes at its New Caledonia mines in the first half of the year. 

 

However, its ferronickel production and sales volumes both decreased in 2019 because its Doniambo smelter suffered supply disruptions through most of the year. The company reported a 13pc decline in ferronickel production and a 15pc decline in the materials sales during the year.

 

In 2019, the company’s consolidated sales from nickel, manganese, and mineral sands by 4pc to €3.67bn ($3.99bn) following significant manganese ore price decreases and an increase of more than 6pc in nickel prices. Sales from its nickel segment, however, rose by 5pc, or €40mn, to €778mn during the year compared with €738mn in 2018. 

 

Eramet’s consolidated EBITDA decreased by €213mn to at €630mn for calendar 2019. The compan’s operating income fell by 41pc on an annual basis to €341mn in 2019, and it reported a loss of €184mn during the year.

($1 = €0.920)

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