Australia’s Western Areas Plans Nickel Mining Expansion

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Australian nickel mining company Western Areas plans to expand its operations and pay down debt as higher nickel prices make marginal projects more viable, NTNews.com.au reported Thursday.

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Nickel prices have more than doubled since 2008, allowing the West Australian miner to consider adding to its Forrestania operations. Chief executive Dan Lougher said the favorable price environment had given the company a boost and allowed it to think beyond its two high grade underground mines, Spotted Quoll and Flying Fox.

“Fundamentally we’ll finish off this year quite strongly, probably well above guidance in terms of completing fiscal 2014,” Mr Lougher told the Australian AP. The Perth-based company is still finalizing its mine plans and costs and development requirements for the full year 2015 budget.

On Thursday, May 29, the price of Chinese primary nickel fell by 4.0 percent, landing at CNY 132,450 ($21,186) per metric ton and making it the day’s biggest mover. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap was unchanged at CNY 16,400 ($2,623) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap held steady at CNY 16,100 ($2,575) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 304 stainless coil held flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,623) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 316 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 26,000 ($4,159) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese ferro-chrome continues hovering around CNY 8,300 ($1,328) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese ferro-moly saw little movement at CNY 145,000 ($23,193) per metric ton.

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A $39.60 decline in the cash price of primary Indian nickel left the price at INR 1,125 ($19.08) per kilogram. On the LME, the nickel 3-month price declined 0.9 percent to $19,480 per metric ton. Thursday saw the nickel spot price drift down 0.6 percent on the LME to $19,510 per metric ton after a couple of stagnant days.

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