Russian mining company Nornickel’s nickel and copper production dipped in Q1 compared to the prior year due to the impact of the recent accident that affected output. The company announced their Q1 results and guidance for the year in a press release on April 19.
Nickel production in Q1 was down 10pc to 46,639mt compared to Q1 2020. Copper production slipped 21pc to 91,292mt in Q1 over the prior-year quarter. Nornickel’s suspension of concentrator followed by an accident which resulted in natural groundwater inflow led to a temporary halt at Oktybrsky and Taimyrsky mines, negatively impacting Q1 production of copper and nickel
Production recovery at Oktybrsky mine has reached 60pc of its nameplate capacity. The mine is expected to reach its full capacity by April-end. Taimyrsky mine is expected to reach full capacity by June, the company stated.
In Q1, nickel output at Kola MMC slipped 7pc to 33,000mt driven by reduction of the matte deliveries from the company’s Norilsk Division due to suspension of the mines. Copper production decreased by 20pc to 91,000mt.
Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta’s nickel production dipped 17pc to 14,000mt on the back of reduction in Russian feed supply. The unit did not produce copper in Q1 owing to the copper cake shipment to Copper Plant of Norilsk division for further refining.
South Africa Operations
Nikomati division in South Africa, in which Nornickel owns 50pc, produced 1,000mt of nickel, down by 38pc from prior-year quarter, and 500mt of copper, down 16pc. Planned phasing out of production at the division in the first half of 2021 was the main reason for the fall in production.
The company has laid down its production guidance for 2021 based on its April plans which include the Oktyabrsky mine returning to full capacity by the end of April and the completion of necessary repairs at the Norilsk concentrator, which is likely to return to its full capacity by October. Nickel production is forecast at 190,000-200,000mt. Copper production is set between 334,000-355,000mt for 2021.