Local February 6, 2012 | 10:13 am

Xstrata Nickel reveals why mine can’t hit US$600.0M target

Santo Domingo. – The miner Falcondo Xstrata Nickel earns around 300 million dollars and pays around US$60 million income tax, but could produce U$600 million, with US$200 million more for government coffers, if it manages to contract low cost electricity and exploit the protected area, Loma de Miranda.

If the subsidiary of the world’s fourth biggest miner, Xstrata Nickel, can’t meet those two major challenges to expand the project’s lifespan during 25 years, it risks being unable to maintain Falcondo’s ability to profit, create jobs and economic growth.

Miner’s energy problem

Falcondo operates at 50% of its capacity thanks to a deal with the power company AES Dominicana to fuel its two furnaces used when it operates at 100% capacity, or 140 megawatts of energy, but now consumes only 70MW.

“We need additional energy to fuel a second furnace which not only makes the operation more viable, but allows us to generate more profits for everyone and more taxes,” said Falcondo Business Development superintendent Gabriel Rodriguez, quoted by newspaper El Dia.

With that in mind, the executive said they’re trying to attract investments in cheap energy, and not take if from what’s in the “deficient national electrical sector.”

The company’s director of Mines, Giovanni Bloise, cited as an example that at 50% capacity the mine produces 28 million pounds of nickel per year, while at 100% it could be as much as 70 million pounds.

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