Indonesia slashes Ni ore production; ramps up refined capacity

Indonesia will reduce its nickel ore production by 52% year on year to 25 million wet metric tonnes (wmt) in 2020, according to the Indonesian Nickel Mining Association, while introducing four new domestic smelters to produce ferro-nickel and nickel pig iron (NPI) ahead of the domestic mineral ore export ban this year.

Indonesian authorities expect four new smelters to come into production in 2020 with a combined capacity of 200,923 tonnes per year, bringing the number of domestic smelters expected to be operational by 2022 to 29, with a total capacity of 69 million tpy.
The association cited regional miners’ inability to fulfill 2019 production targets and a lower London Metal Exchange three-month nickel price - which is fluctuating around $13,000 per tonne and was trading near $12,965 per tonne on February 18 - as the reason for the sweeping ore production cuts, but analysts are skeptical.
Refining ramp up
Nickel market analysts instead believe that a weaker Chinese appetite for material moving into 2020 and Indonesian miners’ inability to export ore to China amid the ban may be driving the cuts.

Indonesia produced 52.76 million wmt of nickel ore in 2019, a 128% increase...


Amy Hinton

February 18, 2020

17:14 GMT