17 Nov 2022 11:04

Nornickel mulls alternatives to supply Finnish plant if shipments from Russia halted

MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) - Nornickel is considering alternative options for delivering products to its Finnish plant Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta in the event that railway shipments between Russia and Finland are suspended, a spokesman for the Russian mining giant told Interfax.

Finnish railway operator VR Group has notified Russian freight shippers that it has decided to gradually stop shipments between Russia and Finland by the end of 2022, Nornickel said.

Possible options being considered include working with other railway operators and shipping by sea, the company spokesman said.

In March, when Russian Railways (RZD) was hit by UK sanctions, VR Group suspended freight services with Russia for several days.

The information about Finland possibly barring Nornickel from using its railways was reported by Argus, Kommersant said on Thursday. Responding to this news, nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange have risen by more than 25% in the past six trading days, although they fell almost 12% on Wednesday, November 16. The growth of nickel prices is also being driven by the easing of anti-Covid restrictions in China and unconfirmed reports about an accident at a nickel plant in Indonesia.

Harjavalta processes about 100,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate from Nornickel's Kola MMC, which is usually shipped from Murmansk by railway. The plant produces about 65,000 tonnes of nickel per year, or 24% of Nornickel's total output, as well as 20,000 tonnes of copper in copper cake (about 1% of total output) and 1,800 tonnes of cobalt in sulphate.

Harjavalta supplies battery materials for a BASF plant built nearby that aims to supply 300,000 electric vehicles per year.