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Norilsk Looks South for More Nickel

Norilsk Nickel plans to increase nickel-concentrate output in South Africa and Australia to curb dependence on Russian mines.

Norilsk intends to raise production at its South African Nkomati project by 58 percent this year from 5,815 tons last year, while output at Australia's Lake Johnston mine may jump fivefold to 8,400 tons, Roman Panov, head of Norilsk's overseas operations, said Tuesday in a statement.

The Moscow-based company, with 80 percent of its nickel production north of the Arctic Circle, is seeking to expand outside Russia as ore grades decline at its main site. Most of the metals concentrate it mines in Africa and Australia is processed at its NN Harjavalta plant in Finland.

The company is preparing to start its Honeymoon Well project in Australia, with a designed capacity of 40,000 tons of nickel a year, and is working to expand resources at its Tati Nickel project in Botswana, according to the statement.

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