Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- China’s production of nickel pig iron, a low-cost alternative to refined nickel, should increase to at least 300,000 metric tons next year from an expected 260,000 tons this year, said Xu Aidong, chief analyst at Beijing Antaike Information Development Co.
Nickel pig iron production should account for almost 60 percent of China’s total primary nickel output this year, according to Antaike. China should import about 30 million tons of lower-grade nickel ore next year to produce nickel pig iron, the company estimates.
“The most important risk for nickel pig iron production is ore supply,” Xu said today at the China Metal Forum in Stockholm. “High nickel content ore is limited and more and more low grade nickel grade ore is exported to China.”
Production of the substitute may reach about 400,000 tons by 2015, according to Xu.
Nickel for delivery in three months fell $1,050, or 5.2 percent, to $19,350 a ton by 4:03 p.m. in London.