MMC Norilsk Nickel | 02 January 2008 г. | 10:21

MMC Norilsk Nickel announces preliminary consolidated production results for 2007 and production forecast for 2008

MMC Norilsk Nickel announces preliminary consolidated production results for 2007 and production forecast for 2008
Norilsk Nickel announces preliminary consolidated production results for 2007 at its Polar and Kola Divisions in Russia and international operations in Finland, Australia, Botswana and South Africa.
“We are satisfied with 2007 production volumes. Norilsk Nickel in 2007 strengthened its leading position both in the Russian and the international mining and metals industry. The acquisition of OM Group’s nickel business and LionOre has contributed a lot to the operational results of our Company, and provided a basis for further growth and development of our business”, said General Director of MMC Norilsk Nickel Denis Morozov.
On March 1, 2007 Norilsk Nickel acquired the Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta refinery in Finland and the Norilsk Nickel Cawse operation in Australia from OM Group. On July 1, 2007 Norilsk Nickel acquired Tati Nickel in Botswana, Nkomati in South Africa as well as the Waterloo, Lake Johnston and Black Swan operations in Australia as part of the acquisition of LionOre Mining International Ltd.
MMC Norilsk Nickel presents production results for these operations both for the full 12 months of 2007 as well as from the acquisition dates. Previously, the Company reported its production numbers and estimates on a full year basis. Detailed production information is available in the attached table. 
Overall saleable nickel production over the 12 months of 2007 amounted to 295 209 metric tonnes. Norilsk Nickel overall saleable nickel production for 2007 from the acquisition dates amounted to 276 339 metric tonnes. MMC Norilsk Nickel increased its saleable nickel production in 2007 by 13% (from the acquisition dates) compared to 2006, when the Company’s saleable nickel production amounted to 244 thousand metric tonnes. The Company operations in Russia, Finland, Australia, Botswana and South Africa produced 75 457 metric tonnes of saleable nickel in the fourth quarter of 2007.
The Polar and Kola Divisions in Russia produced 234 454 metric tonnes of saleable nickel in 2007. In addition, the Polar Division produced high-grade nickel matte containing approximately 3 920 metric tonnes of nickel to be refined at Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta in 2008 as part of a test of prospective technology. In the fourth quarter of 2007 the Polar and Kola Divisions produced 59 442 metric tonnes of saleable nickel excluding the high-grade matte.
The Tati Nickel and Nkomati operations in Southern Africa produced 16 990 metric tonnes of saleable nickel starting January 1, 2007. Saleable nickel production of these operations from the acquisition date amounted to 8 324 metric tonnes. The full-year saleable nickel production was below the previously announced estimate due to lower nickel grades at Tati Nickel and the transition from mining at the Massive Sulphide Body to the Main Mineralized Zone at Nkomati. The “Interim Plan” Project successfully started commissioning two months ahead of schedule in August 2007 and within budget. In the fourth quarter of 2007 these operations produced 3 855 metric tonnes of saleable nickel.
The Waterloo and Lake Johnston operations in Western Australia produced 9 215 metric tonnes of saleable nickel over the 12 months of 2007. Saleable nickel production of these operations from the acquisition date amounted to 4 222 metric tonnes. The full-year saleable nickel production exceeded the previously announced estimate despite the ground fall at the Maggie Hays mine in May 2007 and subsequent rehabilitation aimed at ensuring safe operating conditions. In the fourth quarter of 2007 these operations produced 3 031 metric tonnes of saleable nickel.
Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta in Finland produced 54 964 metric tonnes of nickel starting January 1, 2007 including tolling and 34 550 metric tonnes of saleable nickel excluding tolling. From the acquisition date Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta produced 46 437 metric tonnes of nickel including tolling and 29 339 metric tonnes of saleable nickel excluding tolling. In the second half of 2007 Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta achieved the production rate at 60 000 metric tonnes of nickel per annum including tolling. Moreover, a monthly nickel production record was achieved in December 2007 at 5 480 metric tonnes of nickel including tolling. In the fourth quarter of 2007 Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta produced 9 129 metric tonnes of saleable nickel excluding tolling.
Overall copper production exceeded the previously announced forecast and amounted to 422 698 metric tonnes at the Company operations in Russia, Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta, Tati Nickel and Nkomati from January 1, 2007. These operations produced 415 638 metric tonnes of saleable copper from the acquisition dates. In the fourth quarter of 2007 these operations produced 109 779 metric tonnes of saleable copper.
Overall palladium production also exceeded the previously announced estimate due to the reduction of work in progress by more than planned and amounted to 3 113 thousand ounces (96.8 metric tonnes) produced by the Polar and Kola Divisions, Tati Nickel and Nkomati over the 12 months of 2007. From the acquisition dates these operations produced 3 087 thousand ounces (96.0 metric tonnes) of palladium. In the fourth quarter of 2007 these operations produced 761 thousand ounces (23.7 metric tonnes) of palladium.
Overall platinum production was in line with the previous estimate and amounted to 740 thousand ounces (23.0 metric tonnes) produced by the Polar and Kola Divisions, Tati Nickel and Nkomati from January 1, 2007. From the acquisition dates these operations produced 734 thousand ounces (22.8 metric tonnes) of platinum. In the fourth quarter of 2007 these operations produced 181 thousand ounces (5.6 metric tonnes) of platinum.
In 2008 saleable nickel production is expected to increase to 300 to 305 thousand metric tonnes and saleable copper production to 415 to 420 thousand metric tonnes. 2008 paladium production is estimated at 3.00 million to 3.05 million ounces (93-95 metric tonnes) and platinum production is expected in the range of 710 to 720 thousand ounces (around 22 metric tonnes).
The stated production volumes do not include production figures of Stillwater Mining Company.
Source: Metal Supply and Sales
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