Talvivaara Withdraws 2013 Nickel Output Target on Slow Restart

Talvivaara Mining Co., the Finnish nickel miner that has suffered stoppages after excess water and waste-water leaks since September, withdrew its output estimate of 18,000 metric tons of the metal for this year.

Talvivaara produced 4,508 tons of nickel and 7,593 tons of zinc in the first half, the Espoo-based company said today in a statement. Output in the first quarter was hurt as excess water reduced ore grades in the mine’s so-called heaps, it said.

The company, which had an 11-day leak of waste water in November, was forced to cut its output forecast three times last year to about 13,000 tons from as much as 30,000 tons. In April, it completed a 261 million-euro ($340 million) rights offer to stave off default and bankruptcy.

Efforts to restart the leaching process at its current heaps have been slower than expected “and some uncertainties relating to the short-term leaching rates still remain,” Chief Executive Officer Pekka Pera said in the statement. “This has forced us to withdraw our production guidance for the current year until we get more clarity.”

Production in the second half will “significantly” exceed the first after the company successfully empties the excess water and restarts production in old heaps, Pera said.