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Vale Indonesia sees 2019 nickel output at 74,000-75,000 mt, steady from last year

Tokyo — Vale Indonesia, one of Asia's leading nickel producers, expects to produce 74,000-75,000 mt of nickel matte this year, stable from an output of 74,806 mt in 2018, a company official said Thursday.

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The company's production last year had fallen to the lowest level since 2012 due to lower ore grade mined in the first half of the year, as well as operational issues during the third quarter, according to its production reports. It initially forecast output at 77,000 mt for the year.

Output this year would remain low due to planned lining maintenance at the Larona Canal hydropower plant which will be carried out during the current quarter, the official said.

Its production has been falling since hitting a record high of 81,117 mt in 2015.

Most of its nickel products are exported to Japanese ferronickel smelter Sumitomo Metal Mining, as well as to Canada under long-term contracts, the company's annual report showed.

-- Mayumi Watanabe, mayumi.watanabe@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Irene Tang, newsdesk@spglobal.com