SMM1, March 2: Greek public power company (PPC) will continue to supply electricity to Larco, Europe's largest nickel producer, until next month, extending the deadline due last Monday.
The Greek government has been working on a plan to avoid shutting down Larco, and requiring producers to cut production in order to reduce nickel prices and wage costs.
In December 2018, Larco's relationship with PPC Power began to become tense. At the time, a senior energy ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said PPC had asked ADMIE, the Greek power grid operator, to cut off power supplies and that the Greek authorities had been in discussions with all concerned to keep them moving forward.
Energy Minister George Sthathakis held talks with the management of PPC and Larco on the issue, the official said. "We are working through mediation to end the stalemate and find a common position to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the Larco problem," Stathakis said after meeting with Larco workers' representatives in early December. " Stathakis says it is working on a plan for PPC not to cut power until the start of the new year. Larco should also cut production to accommodate lower nickel prices and lower wage costs, he added.
Larco has about 1000 employees in Greece. According to Refinitiv Eikon, the company produced 21800 tons of nickel in 2016. PPC and Larco had no immediate comment. The European Court of Justice ruled in February that Greece should resume its alleged 135.8 million euros in state aid to the Larco.
Larco's official website shows that its smelter is located in Larymna. The plant is used to process nickel laterite and produce ferronickel with a nickel content of 18% to 24%. The annual processing capacity of ore is 2.5 million tons, and the annual capacity of nickel and iron is between 180000 and 200000 tons.
According to SMM, first of all, according to customs data, more than 900 tons of ferronickel, which originated from Greece, was imported at the end of 2014 and early 2015. In 2016 and 2017, no ferronickel from Greece entered the country, and from September to October 2018, more than 2300 tons of ferronickel were imported. The latest customs data show that China imported 2021 tons of ferronickel from Greece in November 2018.
The production of nickel and iron in Greece is not the main source of import of nickel and iron in China, and the impact on China is not obvious for the time being, so SMM will continue to pay attention to it.