FNI mine in Palawan ships nickel to China

The Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC), a subsidiary of the country’s second-largest nickel producer, is targeting to export around 500,000 wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore this year.

Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. (FNI) said INC completed its maiden shipment of nickel ore on September 20 from its mine site in Brooke’s Point, Palawan.

The FNI subsidiary exported 54,700 WMT of medium-grade nickel ore to Guandong Century Tsingshan Nickel Industry Co. Ltd. (GCTN) in China.

“After years of careful planning and regulatory compliance, this inaugural shipment is a remarkable milestone for our Group and bodes well for the country’s economic and social governance goals at this critical time,” FNI Chairman Joseph C. Sy said in a statement. 

“Target for the year is 500,000 WMT, with increased production in the coming years, as we begin year-round operations.”

FNI said the INC has an estimated mine life of at least 10 years with an annual production rate of 1.5 million WMT of medium- to high-grade nickel ores, based on the subsidiary’s mineral production sharing agreement with the government.

“We are proud of this development because it sets the tone for the optimal pursuit of our social development and environmental protection objectives. INC can now roll up the score in community engagement with various socio-civic initiatives in place from the beginning of our operations,” said Sy.

In April, FNI announced that it expects to exceed its full-year target shipment of 5.5 million WMT on the back of higher demand from China (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/04/20/fni-unit-ships-nickel-to-china/).

“We are upbeat that our mining operations at PGMC [Platinum Group Metals Corp.] have been running seamlessly from the get-go. Weather permitting, we might be able to exceed this year’s target of 5.5 WMT consisting of 60 percent low-grade ore and 40 percent medium-grade ore,” FNI President Dante R. Bravo said.

The company said about half of PGMC’s shipment target for 2022 has been allotted for, and the rest will be open to other customers. PGMC has a general nickel ore supply contract with the Guangdong Century and Baosteel Resources International Co. Ltd. for 20 and 30 shipments, respectively. Prevailing market prices for all customers will be determined at the time of their individual order confirmation, the company said.

“We remain bullish as demand from China continues to be strong, and nickel prices have been rising in recent years. And with current global events adversely affecting oil prices, there is a greater appreciation for electric vehicles, which use nickel for their rechargeable batteries,” Bravo said.

The company said bad weather resulted in a 13-percent year-on-year decline in nickel ore shipments last year.

FNI shipped 90 vessels of nickel ore for a total of 4.887 million WMT in 2021 against the 103 vessels totaling 5.62 million WMT in 2020. The resulting product mix was 77 percent, or 3.76 million WMT, of low-grade ore and 23 percent, or 1.12 million WMT, of medium-grade ore.