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Philippine miner Nickel Asia holds H1 ore shipments steady at 8.89 mil wmt

Hong Kong — Nickel Asia sold 8.89 million wet mt of ore from its four operating mines in the first six months of the year, relatively stable from 8.92 mil wmt a year earlier, the miner said Monday in a filing to the Philippines Stock Exchange.

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Nickel ore shipments in the April-June quarter soared 87.7% from the previous quarter, but fell 1.2% on the year to 5.8 million wmt, it added.

The ore was produced from the Rio Tuba operation in Palawan province, the Cagdianao mine on Dinagat Islands, the Taganito open pit mine and Hinatuan in the Surigao del Norte province.

Nickel Asia exported 4.89 million wmt nickel ore, up 4.5% from a year earlier.

Due to increasing supply from Indonesia following the partial lifting of a ban on ore exports in January 2017, Nickel Asia reported a 30.5% annual decline in realized nickel price for H1 exports at $18.05/wmt.

The miner delivered 4 million wmt of nickel ore to its two hydrometallurgical processing plant affiliates in the Philippines -- Coral Bay Nickel Corporation and Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation.

Increasing ore supply from Indonesia and its negative effect on export prices remained the company's biggest challenge for the remainder of 2018, President Martin Antonio G. Zamora said.

He added that Nickel Asia expected to continue to benefit from the higher price of ore delivered to the two processing plant affiliates, which are linked to LME prices.

"This component of our business, changes to our ore export grade mix, and the stronger performance of the two processing plants, will be our key drivers for earnings growth this year," Zamora said.

--Winnie Lee,

--Edited by E Shailaja Nair,