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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)

Matthews, Norman A.
Nickel,   pp. 629-641 ff. PDF (1.6 MB)


Page 639

 NICKEL 639 
compared with 22,700 tons in 1977. Reduced. operations were necessitated
by excess inventories; however, production rose to an estimated 27,650 tons
in 1979. In late 1978, the company began marketing a new ferronickel product
form, more suitable for mechanized handling; the individual coneshaped pieces
weigh about 1 1/2 pounds. 
 Finland.—Outokumpu Oy began commercial operations at the nickel-copper
sulfide deposit at Vammala. Annual mine output of 400,000 tons of ore, averaging
0.7% nickel and 0.4% copper, replaces the company's former production at
Vuonos. Total nickel production in 1978, all in the form of cathode nickel,
was 8,268 tons. In 1979 production was estimated at 12,675 tons. 
 France.—The new electrolytic refinery of Société
Métallurgique
Le Nickel (SLN) near LeHavre, France, was completed in July 1978 and trial
production was initiated in the last months of the year; production in 1978
totaled 2,490 tons of cathode nickel. Production was halted in late 1978
by a serious fire in the refinery. Production resumed in October 1979, and
an estimated 3,000 tons of nickel was produced from October through December.
The facility has a design capacity of 13,000 tons annually. 
 Greece.—Expansion of the Société Mmière
et Métallurguque
de Larymna S.A. (LARCO) facility at Boeotia, from 15,000 to 27,000 tons annual
capacity of nickel in ferronickel, was completed early in 1979. The expansion
included the provision of modern haulage trucks, a new kiln and electric
smelting furnace. A project on the Island of Euboea, east of Athens, was
postponed pending improvement in market conditions for nickel. Also delayed
were new facilities planned by Eleusi Bauxite Mines. Production of nickel
by LARCO in 1978 was 14,887 tons compared with 10,600 tons in 
1977; the latter figure reflected a 3-month labor strike. Production in 1979
approximated 20,800 tons. Most of the ferronickel product is exported to
the European Community, Sweden, and Canada. 
 Guatemala.—A small matte shipment was made in February 1978 from
the
new plant of Exploraciones y Explotaciones Mmeras Izabal, S.A. (Eximbal).
After a short operating period to train personnel, the kiln and smelting
furnace were shut down for inspection and modifications and restarted late
in the year. Additional shipments were made totaling 1,585 tons to the newly
installed fluidized bed roaster at Clydach, Wales. Production during 1979
was 7,000 
tons of nickel in matte, mostly shipped to Clydach. 
 Indonesia.—Exports of nickel ore to Japan by P.T. Aneka Tambang,
the
Indonesia State mining corporation, were expected to total about 640,000
tons in the fiscal year ending May 31, 1979, compared with 830,000 tons in
the previous fiscal year. The price for ore containing 2.4% nickel was $0.50
per pound of contained nickel, compared with $0.55 per pound in the previous
fiséal year. Ferronickel production by Aneka Tambang in 1978 was
equivalent
to 4,349 tons, nickel content, and a similar volume was produced in 1979.
 A Japanese consortium of nickel refining companies postponed plans to develop
nickel laterite mining and ferronickel production facilities at Gebe Island
in the Halmahera Group. 
 Construction was completed early in 1978 at the $900 million complex of
P.T. International Nickel Indonesia at Soroako. One of the three process
lines began operating in April, and the first shipment of high-nickel matte
was made to Japan in May. Approximately 5,000 tons of nickel in matte were
shipped in 1978, principally to Japan. Production in 1979 was 9,500 tons
of nickel in 78%-nickel matte. 
 P.T. Pacific Nikkel Indonesia, the principals of which are United States
Steel Corp., Hoogovens Ijmuiden B.V., Amoco Minerals Co., a subsidiary of
Standard Oil of Indiana, and the Indonesian Government, completed exploration
and preliminary engineering for nickel production on Gag Island off the northwest
coast of Irian Java. With a projected capitalization of $1,000 million, the
project is based upon 150 to 200 million tons of delineated ore and use of
a modified Sherritt Gordon hydrometallurgical process with an annual production
potential of 55,000 tons of nickel in the form of powder or briquets. Financing
was not completed and the project was postponed. 
 Japan.—Japanese demand for nickel dodined during most of 1978
but
recovered modestly in the last 4 months. Producers of refined nickel began
the year with excessive inventories of imported lateritic ore and refined
nickel and ferronickel products. As a result, quantities of ore imported
from New Caledonia, Indonesia, and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. of the Philippines
were reduced substantially in the fiscal year ending in March 1979. In general,
for ores averaging over 2% nickel, payment was made on the basis of $0.50
per pound of nickel contained, a decline of 9% from the 


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