Analysis: Fire accident to cause nickel output loss at Jinchuan
The workshop that caught fire at Jinchuan Group’s nickel smelter on New Year’s Eve has an annual production capacity of 30,000 mt and it produces both refined nickel and electrowinning nickel, SMM understood.
Total nickel production for Jinchuan’s smelter is targeted at 135,000 mt for 2018.
The workshop, No.3, produces sulphide ore products and intermediates using hydrometallurgy. Jinchuan’s other two workshops, however, do not have the capability to produce the intermediates via hydrometallurgy. This means that output of electrowinning nickel using the intermediates cannot be replaced by production at workshops No.1 and No.2.
SMM estimated that it would take about three months to rebuild the facilities at workshop No.3.
If the workshop runs at 100% for the rest of the year after the rebuild, we estimated there would still be a loss of 2,250 mt of electrowinning nickel, which is mainly used by stainless steel mills.
For the first quarter, SMM estimated a loss of some 3,000 mt of refined nickel production if all production capacity of workshop No.3 can be transferred to the other two workshops. Losses could be more if not all capacities are transferred.