PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Nickel Mines has reported a 7.7% increase in quarterly production from its Indonesian rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) projects for the three months to December, with attributable production reaching a record high.
RKEF production during the quarter reached a record 11 527 t during the December quarter, with Nickel Mines' share of production accounting for 9 221.6 t.
The December quarter production compared with 10 699.9 t produced in the September quarter, on a 100% basis, with Nickel Mines' share accounting for 8 559.9 t.
Production increases were reported at both the Hengjaya and the Ranger nickel projects, with production levels consistently at around 1 900 t/m of nickel from each project.
During the quarter under review, Nickel Mines also reported record quarterly sales from its RKEF operations, which reached $158.8-million, up 16.6% on the previous quarter, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization also reached a record high of $71.6-million, up 45.6% from the previous quarter.
The company told shareholders on Monday that key expansion activities at the Hengjaya mine continued during the quarter under review, to support plans to further increase production of both saprolite and limonite ores in 2021.
During the quarter under review, Nickel Mines also inked a definitive agreement with partner Shanghai Decent Investment to acquire a 70% interest in the Angel Nickel project, in Indonesia, for $490-million.
The four RKEF lines making up the Angel project would have an annual nameplate capacity of 36 000 t of nickel metal, and would include a 380 MW coal-fired power plant.
The agreement allows Nickel Mines to acquire an initial 30% interest in Angel Nickel, and 30% of all shareholder loans due to Shanghai Decent at a cost of $210-million, with the initial acquisition to be finalised by no later than the end of March.
An additional 40% interest in Angel Nickel and 40% of all shareholder loans due to Shanghai Decent will subsequently be acquired at a cost of $280-million, with the second acquisition to be finalised before the end of the year.