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Output of PHL's second-largest nickel producer hits 3-year high.

GLOBAL Ferronickel Holdings Inc. (FNI), the country's second-largest nickel producer, said its nickel output in 2017 rose to a three-year high of 6.153 million wet metric tons (WMT), amid higher metal prices and cost-efficient operations.

In a disclosure to the local bourse, FNI said its total nickel ore produced last year was 34.72 percent higher than the 4.567 million WMT recorded volume in 2016.

'The enhanced organizational structure and processes within our teams increased our connectivity and efficiency,' FNI President Dante R. Bravo was quoted in a statement as saying. 'This allowed us to act upon day-to-day weather conditions, as well as on other business information that support the execution of our long-term strategy.'

Bravo said in a statement issued on March 6 that the firm 'remain extremely excited about the prospects of expanding' its resource base through the firm's mineral-exploration program. For this year, the company will focus on Cagdianao Areas 1, 6 and 7, with further confirmatory drilling for Cagdianao Areas 2 and 4, he added.

'Based on this scope, we expect to release partial results by June and November.'

However, despite the increase by more than a third in its nickel ore output, the firm was unable to hit its target 6 million WMT volume of nickel ore shipment last year.

FNI, the largest single lateritic mine exporter in the world, said in 2017 it exported a total of 5.971 million WMT of nickel ore, or 99.5 percent of its 6-million WMT shipment target volume.

However, the figure was 38.57 percent higher than the 4.309 million WMT volume of nickel ore it exported in 2016.

Out of the 5.971 million WMT nickel ore shipment, 3.641 million WMT, or about 64 percent of the volume, were limonite or low-grade ores. The volume, however, was more than half than the 2.396 million WMT of limonite mined in 2016.

Meanwhile, the remaining volume of about 2.330 million WMT were saprolite ores or meidum-to-high-grade ones, which was 22 percent higher than the 1.913 million WMT produced in 2016.

'Product mix was 61-percent low-grade ore and 39-percent medium-grade ore versus the previous years' mix of 56-percent low-grade and 44-percent medium-grade ore,' FNI said.

FNI said the average realized price of nickel ore last year grew 5 percent to $19.29 per WMT, from $18.36 per WMT average quotation in 2016.

Furthermore, the firm said it recorded a record-low cash operating costs in 2017 at P590.24, which was 4.79 percent lower than the P619.97 recorded average cost per WMT in 2016.

The higher production, coupled with recovering prices of nickel and lower operating costs, allowed the firm to post a 54-percent increment in its revenue.

'Revenues grew 54 percent to P5.8 billion, from P3.8 billion of prior year,' FNI said.

Meanwhile, FNI added its net income in 2017 rose by nearly twenty-fold to P779.7 million, from a mere P37.5 million in 2016.

On the other hand, the firm said its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization last year more than doubled to P1.59 billion, from P573.1 million posted in 2016.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Mar 6, 2018
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