Nickel and cobalt miner and refiner Sherritt International has deferred the planned full-maintenance shutdown of its refinery in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, by two months to mitigate Covid-19 risks.
The shutdown has been postponed from June to August.
“While the number of local Covid-19 cases is declining and vaccinations accelerating, we elected to take extra caution and deferred the plant-wide maintenance shutdown until the third quarter,” Sherritt president and CEO Leon Binedell said on Tuesday.
The shutdown would last about 11 days and included all the refinery and utility plants.
The rescheduling would not impact on Sherritt’s guidance for the year, but it would result in finished production totals being higher in the second quarter, and lower in the third quarter.
Sherritt also reported that it had received a combined total of $28-million in distributions as a result of the latest dividend declared by the Moa joint venture (JV), in Cuba.
The total comprised Sherritt’s 50% share of the distribution and $14-million re-directed from its JV partner, General Nickel Company, to be applied against amounts owed to Sherritt from Energas.
“The receipt of 100% of dividends declared by the Moa JV is indicative of strong operational performance and improved nickel and cobalt prices in 2021,” said Binedell.
“Just as important, it demonstrates the flexibility and resourcefulness of our Cuban partners in addressing overdue amounts owed in light of the economic challenges the country faces as a result of ongoing US sanctions and the impact of Covid-19.”