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Vale nickel production up 3% in first quarter

Keywords: Tags  Vale Nickel, Vale, nickel production, nickel, Sudbury, Thompson, Voisey's Bay, Daniel Fitzgeral

NEW YORK — Vale SA saw first-quarter nickel production rise 3 percent year over year to 65,000 tonnes thanks to “improved operational reliability” at the company’s Canadian operations, it said.

“Improved operational reliability in Canada and the ramp-up of VNC (Vale New Caledonia) more than offset the effect of the production loss from Onça Puma, Brazil, and the maintenance shutdown of a furnace at Sorowako, Indonesia,” the Rio de Janeiro-based company said.

The company’s Thompson operations in Manitoba produced 7,200 tonnes in the first quarter, up 19.8 percent from the year-ago period.

Meanwhile, finished nickel production sourced from Vale’s Voisey’s Bay operations in Newfoundland and Labrador reached 18,700 tonnes, up 29.2 percent year over year.

However, finished nickel production using feed delivered by the company’s Sudbury, Ontario, mines came in at 17,100 tonnes, down 23.8 percent year over year.

Vale announced in October 2012 that it would need to replace a furnace at Onça Puma following a series of breakdowns during the second quarter of 2012 (, Oct. 25).

Production of nickel in matte from Sorowako totaled 18,500 tonnes, 13.1 percent lower than the previous quarter due to a three-week furnace shutdown for maintenance in March.

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