NEW YORK Glencore Xstrata Plc has temporarily shut its Falcondo nickel mine in the Dominican Republic, citing "adverse market conditions."
The decision was "all market driven," a company spokesman said, noting that it wasnt influenced by the Dominican governments decision this week to designate nearby land in La Vega provincethe site of a proposed Glencore mining expansionas a national park.
"Its really a result of adverse market conditions, essentially a combination of low nickel prices and rising costs," he said. "Its just not economically viable."
The plant is due to undergo maintenance, the spokesman said, adding that Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore Xstrata has "no specific date" planned for a reopening. "A lot of things have to happen, obviously the market (changing) being the critical one," he said.
Nickel prices have fallen steadily all year, with the London Metal Exchanges three-month nickel contract closing the official session at $13,700 per tonne ($6.21 per pound) Oct. 3 compared with a 2013 high of $18,665 per tonne ($8.47 per pound) Feb. 4.
The mine previously shut in 2008 for similar reasons (amm.com, Aug. 19, 2008). It reopened in October 2010 (amm.com, Oct. 12, 2010).
Falcondo has operated at 50 percent of capacity since early 2011, the spokesman said. The mine produced 7,000 tonnes of nickel in ferronickel in the first half of 2013.