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Norilsk Nickel Q4'16 copper, nickel output up QOQ

PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel on Jan. 31 posted quarter-over-quarter increases in its fourth-quarter 2016 production of nickel and copper, while platinum group metals output declined.

Consolidated nickel production increased 5% on a quarterly basis to 58,392 tonnes, while output from the company's Russian feed rose 16% to 52,604 tonnes. The increase was mainly attributed to the scheduled ramp-up of the upgraded Talnakh concentrator at its Polar Division and higher volumes of Nkomati concentrate processed at Kola MMC.

Copper production also rose 11% on a quarterly basis, to 96,188 tonnes, due to the lower base of the third quarter driven by pre-commissioning works at the upgraded Talnakh concentrator. Copper output from its Russian feed rose 12% to 91,232 tonnes.

Palladium and platinum output in the period totaled 633,000 ounces and 154,000 ounces, respectively, during the period, down 3% and 2% quarter over quarter due to the reconfiguration of downstream production facilities and lower PGM content in mined ore.

Palladium production from the company's Russian feed slid 1% on a quarterly basis to 609,000 ounces, while platinum output rose 1% to 145,000 ounces in the period.

Full-year 2016 nickel production dipped 12% year over year to 235,749 tonnes, attributed to the decommissioning of the nickel plant and an increase of work-in-progress material in transit as a part of the ongoing reconfiguration of downstream production facilities.

Copper production for the year declined 2% on a yearly basis to 360,217 tonnes, driven mostly by the calibration of the upgraded Talnakh concentrator and lower copper content in mined ore.

Palladium and platinum output in the 12-month period slid 3% and 2%, respectively, to 2.6 million ounces and 644,000 ounces.

The Russian group is aiming to produce between 206,000 tonnes and 211,000 tonnes of nickel and 377,000 tonnes and 387,000 tonnes of copper from its Russian feed this year.

The company also expects to produce between 2.6 million ounces and 2.7 million ounces of palladium from its Russian feed, while platinum output is expected to fall between 581,000 ounces and 645,000 ounces.