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Russian mining behemoth Nornickel reports Q1 nickel and copper output drop

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(Kitco News) - Nornickel, the world's largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a major producer of platinum and copper, today announced its preliminary consolidated production results for the first quarter of 2021.

In Q1 2021, the company's consolidated nickel production decreased 10% q-o-q to 47 kt. The decrease was attributed to the temporary suspension of Oktyabrsky and Taimyrsky mines, as well as the Norilsk Concentrator.

The company's consolidated copper production decreased 21% q-o-q to 91 kt, all of which were produced from the company's own Russian feed. The decrease was attributed to the temporary suspension at Oktyabrsky and Taimyrsky mines, reduction of ore processing at the Norilsk Concentrator and scheduled shut down of the metallurgical shop at Kola MMC.

Nornickel's palladium and platinum output increased 40% q-o-q to 776 koz and 23% to 184 koz, respectively, all of which were produced from the company's own Russian feed. The increase of PGMs output was attributed to the full ramp-up of a new line for production of precious metals from chlorine leaching residues at Kola MMC and, as a result, a decrease of the work-in-progress inventory.

The company noted that recent 'unfortunate' incidents in Norilsk had a negative impact on nickel and copper production volumes of the company in Q1 2021, but production recovery at Oktyabrsky mine (5.0 mtpa of ore) is running ahead of schedule, having reached already 60% of its nameplate capacity. Oktyabrsky mine is expected to reach its full capacity by the end of April, whereas Taimyrsky mine — in early June.

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