Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

The Ramu Nickel-Cobalt integrated mine in Papua New Guinea produced 8,635mt of contained nickel in Q1 2020. The volume rose from 7,663mt during the same period in 2019, and from 7,902mt during the fourth quarter of last year.


Around 6,108mt of contained nickel was shipped in the first quarter this year, down from 6,588mt during the same quarter last year, and from9,685mt in Q4 2019.


Nickel capacity utilization at Ramu rose to 106pc in Q1 2020 from 94pc during the first quarter of 2019, and from 97pc in Q4 2019.


The output for mixed hydroxide product (MPH)—which is 40pc nickel and 3.5pc cobalt, and is a popular raw material used to make lithium ion battery cathode materials and feature prominently in electric vehicles—reached 21,177mt in Q1 2020, up from 19,653mt during the same quarter in 2019, and from 19,695mt in Q4 2019.


About 17,408mt of MPH was shipped during Q1 2020, slightly increasing from 17,219mt during the same quarter last year, but falling from 24,460mt shipped in Q4 2019.


The mine also processed 920,000mt of ore in Q1 2020, increasing from 800,000mt during the same quarter last year, and from 886,000mt in Q4 2019.


The mine, 85pc of which is controlled by Metallurgical Corporation of China and 8.56pc owned by Conic Metals as a joint venture interest, was called “a low cost asset” by Justin Cochrane, Conic’s president and chief executive officer. Despite the pandemic putting downward pressure on nickel and cobalt prices, Cochrane said Ramu consistently delivers robust cash flow, which, in tandem with its low cost, has insulated the company from nickel price volatility.

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