PARIS, Jun. 9 -- Eramet SA, operator of the world's largest ferronickel plant, plans to raise nickel output at its Doniambo smelter by 7.5 percent this year.
Societe Le Nickel, a unit of Paris-based Eramet in New Caledonia, aims to produce 56,000 metric tons in 2010, after cutting output to 52,100 tons last year on falling prices, said Pierre Alla, chief executive officer of Societe Le Nickel in a phone interview. Output at Doniambo should rise to 65,000 tons annually by 2014, Alla said.
Nickel on the London Metal Exchange has fallen 33 percent from a 23-month high in April. It traded 0.7 percent higher at $18,595 a ton at 8:14 a.m. in London.
"Production increases for this year and in the longer-term to 2014 aren't linked to short-term movements of the nickel price, they are still going ahead," said Alla.
Eramet produced 13,650 tons of nickel in the first quarter, up 3 percent on the year, and expects to increase production further, according to its annual report.
Eramet is also studying developing the Weda Bay nickel project in Indonesia, expecting to make a decision late next year or 2012.
"The decision on Weda Bay is still some way off, we're working with a long-term nickel price of $8 a pound ($17,640 a ton) for the project," said Alla.