Conic Metal’s Ramu Nickel-Cobalt integrated mine’s contained nickel output in Q3 FY20 rose by 8pc to 9,048mt from 8,390mt from the prior-year period, the company said in its Q3 report.
In the Jan-Sep period, contained nickel production stood at 25,286mt, up by 2pc from 24,820mt from the prior-year period.
The company said that the mine’s operating results were not negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Q3 figures were one of its best output quarters.
It added that the mine is on track to meet its FY20 nickel output guidance of 32,000mt-33,000mt.
The company’s nickel shipments declined significantly in Q3 by 55pc to 6,584mt from 14,531mt in the prior-year period. In the Jan-Sep period, nickel shipments fell by 34pc to 20,247mt from 30,576mt in the prior-year period.
The company said that even though the shipments declined in Q3 due to curbs to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expecting sales to rebound in Q4 and FY21 as the world economies emerge from the pandemic.
It added that it is already witnessing a hike in nickel demand for batteries as the electric vehicle sector is gaining traction. Nickel suitable for lithium-ion battery production will become supply-constrained.
The company’s estimates suggest that around 120,000mt of nickel will be consumed by the rechargeable battery industry this year which is higher than its original forecast.
The company also calculated that only 400,000mt of refined nickel from the global market of 2.4mn mt is suitable for battery manufacturing.
The projects to produce battery-suitable nickel will continue to face delays in commissioning which will add to supply pressures in the future.
It concluded that it will meet the battery producer’s requirements for the long term. The mine is located in Papua New Guinea and has an annual contained nickel capacity of 32,600mt.