Fate of Ban Phuc Nickel remains murky

17:41 | 23/03/2018
The fate of Ban Phuc Nickel mine invested by Ban Phuc Nickel Mines Limited Liability Company (BPNM) remains uncertain.
fate of ban phuc nickel remains murky
Ban Phuc Nickel’s fate remains murky

A representative of the Son La Department of Industry and Trade told VIR that the mine’s operation has been suspended since October last year. To date, the department has yet to receive any specific plans to resume the mine’s operation from the investor.

Previously, in October 2017, BPNM officially decided to suspend the operation of Ban Phuc Nickel mine until September 30, 2018 due to the company’s massive losses.

In 2007, Asian Mineral Resources Limited (AMR), a global mining group listed on the bourse in Toronto, Canada, was granted the licence to exploit and process ores in the Ban Phuc nickel ore mine, which has a reserve of more than 200,000 tonnes of nickel and 18,000 tonnes of copper.

As of May 2015, BPNM reported an accumulated loss of $55 million, which increased to $129 million by August 2017.

According to the initial plan, AMR will co-operate with domestic enterprise Son La Mechanical Engineering JSC to establish BPNM, with AMR holding 90 per cent, to develop the project which lies 160 kilometres northwest of Hanoi in Son La province. BPNM envisioned starting production in mid-2009.

However, due to low market demand, the project halted construction in 2008 to await better market conditions.

The project finally started mining and processing activities in May 2013. However, during the operations, the company suffered massive losses as the revenue was not enough to offset operating expenditures.

As a result, the investor was forced to suspend the exploitation and processing of nickel, copper, and cobalt at the Ban Phuc mine until September 2018.

By Kim Oanh

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