October 13 (SeeNews) - Kosovo's sole ferro-nickel producer, Ferronikeli, has raised monthly output thanks to rising international demand and prices, Reuters reported.
"Now we have better prices and we produce around 600 tonnes of nickel per month but we hope to produce 700, 800 or 900 tonnes per month," Reuters quoted Ferronikeli spokesman Arten Bajrushi as saying on Monday.
"If the prices remain as they are or rise we are planning to produce more nickel," Bajrushi said.
Last October the smelter cut output to 330 tonnes of nickel per month until June when the prices fell to $8,850 (5,900 euro) per tonne, he said.
Ferronikeli, bought by a Zurich-based consortium of the International Mining Resources (IMR) and the Alferon management company in 2005 for 30.5 million euro, runs three open-pit mines with total estimated reserves of 14 million tonnes. The complex employs around 1,000 workers.
The owner estimates the complex can produce 10,000-12,000 tonnes of nickel per year, Bajrushi said. He added that the company was considering investing in an industrial drier that could help increase output.
"One of our big problems is the humidity in the ore. We have around 40 percent humidity. If we have good financial results we plan to install an industrial drier which will enable us to increase the production," he said.
Kosovo's exports cover only 10% of imports and nickel accounts for about half of exports. Kosovo's nickel, which covers 0.5-0.7 percent of the world demand, is exported to India, China, South Korea and the European Union, Reuters reported.
($ = 0.6733 euro)