Terrafame will spend the remainder of the year improving operational efficiencies while keeping an eye on 2021, when it begins commercially producing battery chemicals, the company said in its 2019 earnings report.
The Finnish nickel and zinc producer will use nickel cobalt sulphide to manufacture battery chemicals at its new plant, opening next year in Sotkamo, which endeavors to become the world’s largest manufacturer of nickel sulphate—a raw material used in chemicals for electric vehicles.
The company’s nickel production rose to 27,469mt in 2019, increasing marginally from 27,377mt during the prior year, while zinc output decreased by 10.4pc to 55,222mt from 61,608mt in 2018.
Both metals’ outputs failed to reach the company’s 2019 guidance of 30,000mt for nickel and 60,000mt for zinc because of production stoppages in Q4 and the bioleaching area repairs. In Q4 2019, the miner’s nickel production fell by 16.8pc to 6,418mt compared with 7,710mt during the same quarter in 2018. Terrafame’s zinc output dropped by 19.6pc to 12,845mt against 15,974mt produced in Q4 2018.
The company’s net consolidated sales in 2019 also dropped by 4.7pc to €310.4mn ($336.9mn) from €325.8mn in 2018 due to lower-than-expected nickel and zinc outputs. Q4 2019 net sales decreased by 13.7pc to €66.8mn from the same quarter during the year prior.
The company’ EBITDA remained at its 2018 level of €32mn, though it fell by €1mn to €700,000mn in Q4 2019. Terrafame’s capital expenditure for 2019 rose to €130.6mn from €81.5mn in 2018 due to additional expenses related to increased capacity and improved outputs during the year.
€1 = US$1.09