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MEI Online: Commodities: Metallic Ores: Nickel: Latest News: October 15th 2008


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:: Sumitomo Considers US$1.7 Billion Nickel Processing Plant in Philippines

Japan`s Sumitomo Metal Mining Co is considering building a US$1.7 billion nickel processing plant in the southern Philippines, despite global financial market turmoil, company officials said.

If approved, the high pressure acid leaching plant in the province of Surigao del Norte, with a capacity of 30,000t of contained nickel per year, will be one of the biggest foreign investments in the Philippines. "At the moment our costing shows US$1.7 billion for the 30,000t," Takanori Fujimura, president of Sumitomo`s local unit Coral Bay Nickel Corp, said. He added that the Japan Bank for International Co-operation could finance up to 70% of the investment.

The financial crisis has made it much harder and costlier for companies to secure debt financing and driven the prices of commodities including metals sharply lower. Gerard Brimo, president and chief executive of Nickel Asia Corp, which hopes to take a 20-30% stake in the project, said the plant will use ore from the Taganito mine.

"We are expecting that Sumitomo will shortly give the go-ahead for the project in spite of the difficult conditions we are experiencing," he said. "We are waiting for an announcement from them that I hope will come by the end of October."

Sumitomo is also doubling capacity at another nickel processing plant on the western island of Palawan to 20,000t/y of contained nickel, Mr Brimo added. Nickel Asia is also a partner in this project. "These two plants will supply 7% of the world`s nickel output."




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