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Sumitomo may miss revised production guidance at Ambatovy nickel joint venture

Sumitomo Corp. warned that it may miss its revised annual production guidance after an accident at its Ambatovy nickel plant in Madagascar forced operations to be suspended for about two weeks in February, Reuters reported March 20.

Forecast nickel production from the Japanese conglomerate's 47.7%-owned operation for the fiscal year ending March 31 had been cut to between 38,000 and 40,000 tonnes, from between 40,000 and 43,000 tonnes.

The newswire's report said one person died in the accident, caused by a fire sparked by a hydrogen leak when a valve was being replaced during maintenance work.

Korea Resources Corp. and Sherritt International Corp. are Sumitomo's joint venture partners in the operation.

Sherritt had resolved not to fund its 12% portion of a US$45 million cash call from the Ambatovy joint venture in order to preserve liquidity and protect its balance sheet, noting that the cash call was made due to the partnership's short-term liquidity needs.