Glencore Xstrata Plc has temporarily shut its Falcondo nickel
mine in the Dominican Republic, citing "adverse market
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
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
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.