Philippine Daily Inquirer - - BUSINESS - —KARLR. OCAMPO

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.

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