In Q3 2012, total finished nickel production was 48,900 tonnes, decreasing by 19.8% against the previous quarter. The output reduction was caused by the scheduled maintenance of most of the Sudbury and Thompson mines during the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, when the demand for nickel is seasonally weak and the operational issues at VNC and Onça Puma.
Finished nickel production from Sudbury was 10,100 tonnes, 42% lower than Q2 2012. At Thompson the planned maintenance shutdown involved the entire operation mine, smelter and refinery. Production in Q3 2012 was 5,100 tonnes, down 24.2% from Q2 2012 but 25.1% higher than Q3 2011.
Production sourced from nickel concentrates produced at the Voisey's Bay operations was slightly below Q2 1012, totaling 14,300 tonnes, as a consequence of the maintenance at the Thompson refinery.
Finished nickel production sourced from our Indonesian operations at Sorowako, 17,000 tonnes, was in line with Q2 2012, and 5.9% higher than Q3 2011.
The operations of VNC were resumed in September. The HPAL (high pressure acid leaching) operations were re-started and the refining sections began ramping up using imported acid. Repairs to the acid plant and the installation of the refining columns of the solvent extraction circuit are being concluded and we expect to produce nickel hydroxide cake, cobalt and nickel oxide from Q4 2012 onwards.
The Onça Puma operations remained shut down during Q3 2012 due to problems with its two furnaces. The return to activity will not take place in Q4 2012 and as yet is not scheduled.
|Q3 '11||Q2 '12||QoQ||Q3 '12||YoY|
In '000 tonnes
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In '000 tonnes
Source - Vale