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PRISTINA (Kosovo), August 15 (SeeNews) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Thursday it is lending 25 million euro ($27.9 million) to Kosovo's NewCo Ferronikeli to support the enhancement of the competitiveness of the country's largest exporter.
The financing will support the implementation of higher environmental standards and energy efficiency, the EBRD said in a statement.
“The EBRD finance will help reduce energy costs and improve the quality of production, which should enable Ferronikeli to become a competitive exporter,” EBRD director for natural resources, Eric Rasmussen, said.
In particular, the installation of an ore dryer will reduce both the length of time in the ore smelting process and the emission of particulates at the largest ferronickel producing company in Kosovo majority owned by Albania's Balfin group.
“Implementing higher environmental standards and energy efficient investments will see the company’s greenhouse gas emissions decrease by an expected 38,615 tonnes of CO2 per year,” EBRD noted, adding that the new measures set NewCo Ferronikeli out as a leader in the sector by demonstrating how modernisation measures can contribute to a sustainable future for mining companies.
Established in 1989 and privatised in 2006, Newco Ferronikeli is now Kosovo’s largest exporter, accounting for about 40% of the country's total exports. The company’s facilities have the capacity to produce 7,000 t of ferronickel per year.
In August 2018, Balfin acquired a 90% stake in NewCo Ferronikeli Complex through its UK-based unit NKL Limited from Dutch-based international mining and metals company Cunico Resources for an undisclosed price. Cyprus-based Clearglass Investment Limited owns the remainder.
Newco Ferronikeli comprises a nickel production plant as well as potentially rich mineral deposits around Drenas, in central Kosovo.
($ = 0.89586 euro)