LONDON Vale New Caledonia
(VNC) continues to ramp up production of nickel oxide and
cobalt carbonate, which it intends to sell to the Asian
VNC produced almost 100 tonnes
of cobalt in the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing annual
production to 385 tonnes. Thats up from 51 tonnes in the
fourth quarter of 2011 and 245 tonnes for the full year.
The boost came after an incident
at an acid plant last May led Rio de Janeiro-based parent
company Vale SA to declare force majeure on nickel
shipments from the smelter (amm.com, May 11).
Production of both nickel oxide and cobalt carbonate began in
the fourth quarter of 2012 after final modifications to the
refinery were completed.
Separately, Vale, which holds a
majority interest in VNC, confirmed that it will confine most
of its sales to Asia.
"The VNC products are mainly
focused on the Asian market," a Vale spokesperson told
AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.
Tokyo-based Mitsui & Co.
Ltd. and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. diluted their joint
stake in the VNC project from 21 percent to 14.5 percent last
year as part of their decision not to invest further in the
project (amm.com, Oct. 25).
The Vale New Caledonia project has an expected annual
capacity of 60,000 tonnes of nickel and 4,300 to 5,000 tonnes
of cobalt once fully online.
A version of this article
was first published by AMM sister publication Metal