Nickel Asia Posts Record Shipments But Lower Prices Depress Value

Nickel Asia Corporation reported a 12.5 percent growth in volume of shipments for 2012 but registered a 7.4 percent decline in shipment value due to lower realized London Metal Exchange nickel price.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Nickel Asia said total volume of nickel ore sold and delivered from its four operating mines reached 11.7 million wet metric tons in 2012 from 10.4 million WMT in 2011.

''This is the highest volume of ore shipments achieved by the group in its history,'' the firm said.

However, despite an increase in volume of shipments, the company's total estimated value of nickel ore shipments fell by 7.4 percent to P11.2 billion in 2012 from P12.1 billion in 2011.

The realized LME nickel price applicable to 4.7 million WMT of ore shipped last year was at an average of $8.10 per pound of payable nickel as against $10.53 a pound in 2011.

The balance of the shipments, which are mainly low and medium grade variety ore sold to Chinese customers, were sold on the basis of a negotiated price per WMT of ore which averaged $24.41 per WMT of ore compared to $24.47 per WMT of ore in 2011.

This year, Nickel Asia said it has to-date executed contracts with various customers for the delivery of 11.7 million WMT of saprolite and limonite ore.

This includes 3.2 million WMT of limonite ore to be delivered to the Coral Bay processing plant and another 1.8 million WMT of limonite ore to be delivered to the new Taganito nickel processing plant which is expected to start operations during the first half of 2013.

In 2014, which will be the first full year of operations of the Taganito nickel processing plant, total ore deliveries to the plant from the Taganito mine is seen to reach 4.5 million WMT.