UPDATE 1-Eramet plans more nickel cost cuts, to target lower grades – by Gus Trompiz (Reuters U.S. – July 27, 2017)


PARIS, July 27 (Reuters) – Eramet pledged further cost cuts after its nickel division suffered more losses in the first half of the year and said it would shift strategy by entering the lower-grade nickel pig iron market via a mining project in Indonesia.

Like other nickel miners, Eramet has been grappling with persistent weakness in market prices, partly due to moves by Indonesia and the Philippines to go back on restrictions targetting the mining sector.

In an interim results statement on Thursday, Eramet reported an operating loss of 104 million euros for its nickel branch, against an 89 million euro loss a year earlier, although a strong performance at its manganese unit helped it post group current operating profit of 256 million euros.

Nickel prices were higher than in the first half of last year but below the production costs of Eramet’s nickel unit in New Caledonia, while depreciation of inventories and ramp-up costs at a refining plant in France also weighed on the division’s results, it said.

Eramet has set a target to cut its nickel production cash cost to $4.50 a pound by the end of 2017, after already reducing it to $5.06 in 2016 from $6 in 2015.

For the rest of this article: http://www.reuters.com/article/eramet-results-idUSL5N1KI13Y