Vale Indonesia said on Wednesday its nickel matte production is expected to fall as much as 13% next year compared to normal levels, as furnace rebuilding delays brought about by the covid-19 pandemic continue to impact output.
The Indonesian arm of the Brazilian mining giant is expecting nickel matte production of 65,000 tonnes in 2022, compared with an annual average of 70,000-75,000 tonnes.
“The plan was to rebuild it at the beginning of this year but due to covid considerations, experts and materials from abroad could not arrive so it was postponed to December,” Vale Indonesia Chief Executive Febriany Eddy told a parliament hearing.
Next year’s projection, however, is slightly higher than 2021’s nickel matte output target of 64,000 tonnes.
The company would have to shut down its 20 year-old furnace on Dec. 14 for five months to rebuild it, she said, adding that the company has three other furnaces that will continue to operate as usual.
Vale Indonesia nickel matte production fell 13% in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period a year ago, also due to maintenance issues.
(By Bernadette Christina Munthe and Fathin Ungku; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)