MOSCOW – Russian nickel and palladium producer Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) said it will invest up to 90-billion roubles ($1.4-billion) over four years in two major projects in Russia.
The projects - expansion and reconstruction of the Talnakh ore concentrator and development of the South Cluster mine - come as Nornickel aims to ramp up nickel output and tap an expected boom in demand from electric vehicle makers.
Nornickel first disclosed its planned spend on the projects last November, when it said they were part of its 2019 to 2022 total investment programme of $10.5-billion to $11.5-billion.
The company, which vies with Brazil's Vale to be the world's largest nickel producer, has been profitable thanks to its resource-rich Arctic operations. Its output has been stable however due to a decline in the metal content in its ore and as it was focused on revamping production facilities.
The Talnakh Concentrator (TOF-3) project will boost the concentrator's annual capacity to 18-million tonnes of ore from 10-million tonnes. It is due for completion in 2023.
Investment in the South Cluster mine should give the heavily depleted deposit a new life, Nornickel said. The ore mining capacity should reach nine-million tonnes a year in 2027.
The company expects an additional annual production of over 20 t of PGMs (platinum group metals) from South Cluster as well as some nickel and copper as by-products.