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Nornickel tests extraction of metals from waste after flooding hit output

09/07/2021 | 01:22pm EDT

MOSCOW, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Russian mining giant Nornickel has extracted additional metals from waste products as part of new technology it tested to support its 2021 output from its Arctic mines that were hit by flooding, it said on Tuesday.

The world's largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel reduced its 2021 output forecast after two of its mines stopped production for several months this year due to underground flooding. Its profit, however has so far been supported by higher metals prices.

"In the first half of 2021, with ore mining limited ... it became necessary to additionally load the production capacity," Nornickel said in a statement.

The metals - 200 tonnes of nickel, 50 tonnes of copper, 80 kg of platinum group metals , 2 kg of gold, and 44 kg of silver - were extracted last month from low-nickel pyrrhotite product.

It is essentially a waste material left after the main cycle at an ore-processing plant.

"The new technology makes it possible to significantly increase the recovery of metals (from pyrrhotite product)," Nornickel said.

While Nornickel continues to refine the new technical solution, it is unclear how much of such waste products the company has around its long-running industrial assets and what portion of it the miner would be willing to try to extract more metals from.

The first nickel plant near the Arctic city of Norilsk was built in 1930s. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

© Reuters 2021
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