Total finished nickel production was 60,900 tonnes in Q2 2012, dropped by 3.6% QoQ, but 8.4% YoY above Q2 2011. The longer than expected temporary suspension for safety assessment of mining operations in Sudbury negatively impacted finished nickel production in Q2 2012.
Finished nickel production from Sudbury was 17,400 tonnes, 22.6% QoQ below Q1 2012. The output of Thompson in 2Q12 was 12.6% QoQ higher than Q1 2012, reflecting better operational performance. Production was in line with the same period of 2012.
Production at Voisey's Bay was slightly above Q1 2012, but was still impacted by the maintenance stoppage in Sudbury, where part of the feed is processed.
Finished nickel production sourced from Sorowako in Indonesia, increased by 36.3% QoQ, reflecting the ramp up after the operational issues faced due to the metal cut out in Q4 2011.
Nickel operation in New Caledonia is expected to resume operations in 4Q12. In May 2012, it stopped operations due to an incident in the acid plant. An independent investigation concluded that a technical defect caused a water leak inside the plant, which diluted the acid and caused some corrosion.
The issues with the acid plant have not related to the HPAL (high pressure acid leaching) technology, whose feasibility proven by the production of 1,100 tonnes of nickel oxide in Q1 2012. The acid plant only supplies an input to the HPAL process. Currently, it is planning the repairs to the acid plant and all the equipment is expected to be operational by year end.
The solvent extraction circuit (all 21 columns) will be commissioned and ready to operate by the fourth quarter. As a result, from Q4 2012 onwards VNC will produce nickel hydroxide cake, cobalt and nickel oxide, but no output is expected to be delivered in Q3 2012.
Onca Puma stopped operating by the end of Q2 2012 due to the run out of furnace #1 on May 28th 2012 and furnace #2 on June 22nd 2012. It is still assessing the extent of the repairs needed and the period of time required to perform them. Initial indications suggest that is likely that both furnaces will be out of operation during the next few months.
|Q2 '11||Q1 '12||QoQ||Q2 '12||YoY||H1 '11||H1 '12||YoY|
In '000 tonnes
Source - Vale