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Venezuela claims Anglo American nickel mine

Keywords: Tags  Anglo American, Minera Loma de Niquel, nickel, Venezuela mine, Citigroup, David Wilson, Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — Anglo American Plc has ceased operations at its majority owned Loma de Niquel Mine following the expiration of its remaining mining concessions and permits granted by the Venezuelan government.

"The government has taken back the leases," a company spokesman told AMM.

"We endeavored for a long time to extend our leases," he said in an e-mail. "We have been anticipating this for some time."

Anglo American previously said that its three remaining concessions at the site were set to expire Nov. 10 (, Oct. 26). Venezuela had already canceled 13 other concessions.

Loma de Niquel, in which Anglo American had held a 91.4-percent stake, was in operation for 12 years before the company lost its ownership in the mine. Nickel output there totaled 13,400 tonnes in 2011, according to London-based Anglo American’s website. Third-quarter 2012 output fell 40 percent from a year earlier to about 1,800 tonnes.

"In light of this situation, the company is taking action to end its working relationship with its employees, and will seek to wind up its operations in an orderly fashion," it said.

The mine will likely be operated by Venezuela’s government going forward, the spokesman said.

The turnover at Loma could contribute to a slowdown in global nickel output, Citigroup director of metals research and strategy David Wilson said. At Loma, there will be a "struggle to produce with a lack of management expertise," he told AMM.

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