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MEI Online: Commodities: Metallic Ores: Nickel: Latest News: December 1st 2014


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:: Boliden to Start Nickel Smelting Business


The Boliden group, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, has announced plans to launch an independent nickel smelting business. The new business will consist of the company purchasing nickel concentrates from external suppliers and selling nickel matte to refineries throughout the world. The company estimates that the annual production will remain at 25,000 metric tons of nickel in matte.

The Boliden Group, which has expertise in the exploration, mining, smelting and metals recycling field, operates mines and smelters in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Ireland.

The company’s combined copper and nickel smelter in Finland has been smelting nickel concentrates for more than 50 years. For several years the facility has been smelting nickel concentrates through tolling arrangements with independent companies. Boliden estimates that in 2013 about 250,000 metric tons of nickel concentrates were processed into nickel matte, containing about 25,000 tonnes of nickel, for further treatment at external nickel refineries.

The company says that with its current tolling contract expiring, it will begin buying concentrates from a number of mines and sell the nickel matte to nickel refineries.

The global market for nickel is about 2 million metric tons per year, with Chinese stainless steel producers being significant buyers. Boliden forecasts that with global smelter capacity declining and new nickel mines coming on stream there will be an increased demand for nickel smelting.

“The timing is good and the change of business model gives us an exciting opportunity to start sourcing concentrates and supplying the growing market. As the only nickel smelter in Western Europe, Boliden's facility in Harjavalta, Finland, is strategically positioned, with a short distance to a port and the lowest sulphur dioxide emissions per metric ton of nickel of any nickel smelter in the world, says Kerstin Konradsson, president of Boliden Smelters.

The company also announced plans to increase the capacity of its zinc smelter in Norway from 170,000 metric tons per year to 200,000 metric tons per year. The company hopes the expansion, to cost around $51.58 million, will be completed by the second half of 2017.

“Previous investments have resulted in a more concentrated production flow, thanks to our ability to increase capacity in some processes and close others. Based on the favorable market climate for zinc, we have decided to invest in debottlenecking several process steps which will increase Boliden Odda’s capacity and boost its competitiveness," says Konradsson.




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