Nickel 28 Releases Ramu Q1 2021 Performance
TORONTO, ONTARIO, May 18, 2021 — Nickel 28 Capital Corp. (the “Company”) (TSXV: NKL) (FSE: 3JC) is pleased to provide results for the quarter ending March 31, 2021 for the Company’s largest asset, being the Ramu Nickel-Cobalt (“Ramu”) integrated operation in Papua New Guinea. Nickel 28 currently holds an 8.56% joint-venture interest in the Ramu operation.
“Ramu delivered record Q1 production due to lower maintenance in the quarter, again exceeding its design capacity” stated Nickel 28’s President and CEO, Justin Cochrane. “In addition, cash costs net of byproduct revenue was only $1.70 per pound of contained nickel, primarily as a result of higher cobalt prices and higher cobalt payability for Ramu’s mixed hydroxide product (“MHP”).” continued Mr. Cochrane.
The LME nickel price was up over 10% from Q4 2020 at an average of $7.97 per pound compared to $7.23 per pound in the prior quarter and is currently trading at a range of $7.75-8.50 per pound. In addition, cobalt prices have also improved significantly with Fast Markets assessing Standard Grade at an average of $21.71 per pound in the quarter an increase from an average of $15.73 per pound in the previous quarter. The strength of commodity prices coupled with increased demand for Ramu’s MHP positively impacted cash generation.
“Ramu is the largest producer of MHP globally and the appetite for this product by battery producers is increasing. This is evident in the improvement in nickel and cobalt payabilities we have seen this quarter. In the quarter, revenue exceeded $160 million compared $80 million in the same quarter last year. At current commodity prices Nickel 28 should be generating cash from its Ramu investment by the end of the second quarter of this year” stated Anthony Milewski, chairman of the Company’s board of directors.
As previously reported the Company’s share of operating debt is currently less than $10 million and upon repayment of the operating debt, 35% of Ramu’s free cash flow attributable to Nickel 28 will flow directly to the Company.
Ramu produced 8,805 tonnes of contained nickel in MHP in the quarter compared to 8,635 tonnes in the same period in the prior year, representing an improvement of 2%. Cobalt production was 800 tonnes, an improvement of 80 tonnes or 11% over Q1 2020. MHP shipments were consistent with prior periods at 8,744 tonnes of nickel contained and 785 tonnes of cobalt contained in MHP. Ramu’s actual cash costs were $1.70 per pound of nickel contained in MHP (net of by-product credits) for the quarter. Company guidance remains unchanged as Ramu is expected to produce between 32,000 and 34,000 tonnes of contained nickel and between 2,800 and 3,200 tonnes of contained cobalt in MHP for the full year 2021.
Ramu’s operating and financial performance for the period are presented below along with comparison to prior years, noting that these figures are unaudited.
|Ore Processed (dry kt)||877||800||920||952|
|MHP Produced (dry tonne)||21,688||19,653||21,177||22,845|
|Contained Nickel (tonne)||8,210||7,663||8,635||8,805|
|Contained Cobalt (tonne)||774||704||720||800|
|Nickel Capacity Utilization (% of design1)||101%||94%||106%||108%|
|MHP Shipped (dry tonne)||23,827||17,219||15,121||22,648|
|Contained Nickel (tonne)||9,024||6,588||6,108||8,744|
|Contained Cobalt (tonne)||861||609||522||785|
|Cash Cost Actual 2||$0.63||$2.44||$2.05||$1.70|
Note (1) Ramu design capacity of 32,600 tonne/year contained Ni
Note (2) Actual Cash Cost net of byproduct credit
A. Nickel 28 has included certain performance measures in this press release that do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by international financial reporting standards (IFRS) including Cash Cost Actual. The presentation of these non-IFRS measures is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS. Other companies may calculate these non-IFRS measures differently. Note these figures have not been audited and are subject to change.
B. These figures have not been audited and are subject to change. The information presented above has not been audited by the company's independent accountants, should not be considered a substitute for audited financial statements, and should not be regarded as a representation by the company as to the actual financial results.
About Nickel 28
Nickel 28 Capital Corp. is a nickel-cobalt producer through its 8.56% joint-venture interest in the producing, long-life and world-class Ramu Nickel-Cobalt Operation located in Papua New Guinea. Ramu provides Nickel 28 with significant attributable nickel and cobalt production thereby offering our shareholders direct exposure to two metals which are critical to the adoption of electric vehicles. In addition, Nickel 28 manages a portfolio of 13 nickel and cobalt royalties on development and exploration projects in Canada, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains certain information which constitutes ‘forward-looking statements’ and ‘forward-looking information’ within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. Any statements that are contained in this news release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as “may”, “should”, “anticipate”, “expect”, “potential”, “believe”, “intend” or the negative of these terms and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, but are not limited to: statements and figures with respect to the operational and financial results; statements with respect to the prospects of nickel and cobalt in the global electrification of vehicles; statements related to the repayment of the Company Ramu operating debt; and statements with respect to the business and assets of Conic and its strategy going forward. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, most of which are beyond the Company’s control. Should one or more of the risks or uncertainties underlying these forward-looking statements materialize, or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results, performance or achievements could vary materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements contained herein are made as of the date of this release and, other than as required by applicable securities laws, the Company does not assume any obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances. The forward-looking statements contained in this release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. No securities regulatory authority has either approved or disapproved of the contents of this news release.