PH NICKEL PRODUCER, RUSSIAN FIRM PUTTING UP PROCESSING PLANT
Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. (FNI), the second largest nickel producer in the country, yesterday signed a memorandum of agreement with Russian firm Vi Holding LLC to build a nickel processing plant in Surigao del Norte.
The parties inked the deal on the sidelines of the Philippine-Russia bilateral meetings during the Asean Summit. FNI chair Joseph C. Sy and Vi Holding LLC chair Valery N. Krasnov led the signing which was witnessed by President Duterte and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medveded.
According to FNI’s latest disclosure, the two companies are now forming a joint working group to test ore samples and conduct feasibility studies in the area. Company president Dante Bravo said in a text message that they were expecting to start construction of the plant next year.
Officials of Vi Holding LLC recently visited FNI’s subsidiary, Platinum Group Metals Corp. in Cagdianao, Surigao del Norte. PGMC said it had completed its full-year shipment of 5.970 million wet metric tons (WMT) for 2017 versus its shipment last year of 4.309 million WMT.
“We are one with the government in pushing for industrialization of the mining industry,” said Sy. “Going into value added processing has long been part of our business objectives and we are very excited at the prospects this new technology brings.”
Vi Holding LLC is considered the largest single lateritic nickel mine exporter in the world, and FNI hopes to take advantage of the former’s patented technology in processing nickel-bearing ore with lower capital investment and lower production costs.
The agreement also seeks to enhance mutually beneficial business cooperation between the two countries, especially in the areas of mining, metallurgy and energy.
Once completed, this will be the third nickel processing plant in the country and the first one that will not be owned by Nickel Asia Corp. and its foreign partner Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd.