January 29, 2018 / 12:46 PM / a year ago

First Quantum's nickel output down 24 pct in 2017

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Nickel output by First Quantum Minerals fell 24 percent to 17,837 tonnes last year from 23,624 tonnes in 2016, the company said in a preliminary production and sales report.

The Canadian miner suspended operations at its Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia in September due to weak nickel prices.

Nickel has since risen, surging almost 40 percent since June to its highest in 2-1/2 years on expectations of rising demand for use in batteries to power electric vehicles.

But at around $14,000 a tonne, prices are far below their 2007 peak of more than $51,000.

The global nickel market recorded a deficit of 77,400 tonnes in January to November last year. Global annual production of the metal used primarily in stainless steel is around 2.2 million tonnes. (Reporting by Peter Hobson; editing by Jason Neely)

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