Norilsk Nickel plans to sell all produced metal for 23 grams

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This material was produced in Russia, where legislation restricts coverage of the Russian special forces operation in Ukraine.

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Anastasia Lerchikova

MOSCOW, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Russian mining and metals giant Norilsk Nickel expects to sell all the metal it produces in 2023, senior vice president Sergei Stepanov told reporters.

“We generally believe that the market is normal, especially for nickel, whose price is stable. Therefore, we are confident that we will produce volumes closer to 2022, which will also be sold. Perhaps the only difference in markets is that China’s share will be bigger. But it will happen anyway. So, we are believing the production to be in 2023 at this point of time,” he said.

Norilsk Nickel was able to maintain production in 2022 “despite a number of supplier failures, especially for underground mining equipment,” Stepanov said, adding that the company generally sought alternative channels for the supply of spare parts and sought new foreign suppliers. Started buying machinery and equipment. From Allied countries and Russia.

Last year, the company downgraded its forecast for nickel and palladium metal production due to delays in the reopening of mines and the Norilsk plant, as well as equipment deliveries to repair the PVP-2 flash smelting furnace at Nadezhda Metallurgical. increased in plant, which had to be postponed till 2023.

According to Stepanov, the repair of the furnace at Nadezhda is scheduled to begin this fall, and in this regard, the company expects a reduction in production of lead metals in 2023.

Norilsk Nickel raised nickel production by 13% to 218,970 tons in 2022, palladium by 7% to 2.79 million ounces, exceeding its forecast. Nickel production is expected to decline by 2.2%-7%, palladium by 8%-14% this year.

Stepanov also said that Norilsk Nickel hopes to complete the investment plan for 2023-2024 on time, including the multibillion-dollar sulfur program, but major projects to be completed after 2024 will be delayed due to the refusal of Western suppliers. The reason would be a delay of 2-3 years. In equipment further redesign is needed.

“Our tension scenario provides for the launch of immediate projects: two relicts, the Sulfur project, the Pacific Fleet-3, and the expansion of production at Medvezhye Ruche. And there are projects that were planned to be completed after 2024. The difficulties we face in their can catch up with, and certainly a redesign is necessary,” he said.

“We believe that there will be a delay of a few years for two reasons: the availability of equipment and the availability of funds. We still need to evaluate, in the current circumstances, what and when we will be able to finance,” Stepanov said.

According to him, the construction of the new Norilsk enrichment plant (NOF-2) is planned to be postponed from 2027 to 2029, the third smelter at the Nadezhda plant – from 2025-2026, approximately to 2029.

The board of directors previously approved a 10% increase in capital expenditures to $4.7 billion in 2023.

Norilsk Nickel, which did not come directly under Western sanctions after Moscow launched a “special operation” in Ukraine, still faced problems with procurement of components and equipment due to the refusal of foreign partners, and parts of the investment programme. was forced to revise, company head Vladimir Potanin said earlier.

According to Stepanov, the company is considering setting up a joint venture in Russia to assemble underground mining equipment in partnership with a Russian manufacturer or supplier from friendly countries.

He also said that Norilsk Nickel had resolved problems with the delivery of raw materials to its Harjavalta plant in Finland after one of the Finnish railway operators refused to deliver Russian cargo, but the company’s production plans for 2023 remain conservative. Is.

Stepanov said that now transportation by rail is carried out by another Finnish operator, with which Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta has signed a contract.

The company plans to produce 50,000 tonnes of products with a capacity of 65,000 tonnes.

“We are closing all our contracts for Finland with a margin. But we have a capacity of 65,000. We can produce more of our high quality products,” Stepanov said.

He also said that the company has restored 40% of production or 1,000 tonnes of metallic cobalt at Kola MMC after a cobalt shop fire in September 2022.

In 2021, Norilsk Nickel, the largest cobalt producer in Russia, will sell about 5,000 tonnes of the metal. (Edited by Anastasia Teterevleva)

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