MANILA, Philippines - Nickel Asia on Tuesday said sales of nickel ore surged 117 percent to P8.9 billion in the first half of the year.
In a statement, Nickel Asia said its four operating mines sold an aggregate 7.73 million wet metric tons of nickel ore in the January to June period. The value of the shipments reached P8.9 billion as of end-June, from P4.1 billion during the same period last year.
Nickel Asia attributed the higher shipment volumes to the "increased ore deliveries to the HPAL plants, in particular to the Taganito HPAL facility, now on its first full year of commercial operations."
Total ore deliveries to the two HPAL plants hit 3.62 million WMT so far this year. Direct exports of nickel ore also jumped to 4.11 million WMT in the first half from 3.90 million WMT a year ago.
The company benefited from the tight supply of nickel ore in the world market, as Indonesia banned ore exports this year. This led to a surge in prices to Chinese customers in the second quarter of the year, which were higher than the increase in London Metal Exchange prices.
"Effective last April, all ore sales to our Japanese customers are now benchmarked to China prices on the basis of a negotiated price per WMT of ore. The average price received for ore sales to Japanese and Chinese customers totaling 4.11 million WMT of both saprolite and limonite ore during this first half amounted to $41.18 per WMT. This compares to an average $21.62 per WMT for the same period last year on a total of 3.90 million WMT of ore sold," Nickel Asia said.
Nickel Asia said its Taganito operations are now its largest, accounting for 42 percent of total shipments in the first half. Rio Tuba mine accounted for 38 percent of total shipments, followed by Hinatuan and Cagdianao, which only started shipments in April and May respectively.