SYDNEY, Jan. 19 -- Australia's second-largest nickel producer, Minara Resources Ltd (MRE.AX: Quote), on Tuesday reported record 2009 nickel output at its Murrin Murrin mine as demand for the steel-making ingredient showed signs of recovery.
Minara said output would be about the same again this year.
The mine, a joint venture with 51.6 percent owner Glencore International AG, produced 32,977 tonnes of nickel in 2009, plus 2,350 tonnes of cobalt, Minara said in a production report. It was expected to produce 30,000-34,000 tonnes of nickel this year.
The forecast takes into account a major maintenance shutdown scheduled for the second half of 2010. It is carried out every three years and usually lasts for three to four weeks.
Chief Executive Peter Johnston said global nickel markets remain volatile, though fundamentals appeared sound "over the medium term" thanks to a pick-up in stainless steel-making.
Stainless steel production is expected to grow at above 10 percent this year, according to analysts' forecasts.
London Metal Exchange nickel MNI3 is fetching about $19,000 per tonne versus $13,000 a year ago.