USA - Platinum Group may switch to other minerals as prices drop

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Business World reported that Platinum Group Metals Corporation is looking at venturing into manganese and chromite given the dampened demand and prices of nickel.

Mr John H Cabarrus SVP of Platinum Group said that "We are seriously considering multi alloy production like ferromanganese or ferrochrome just to be able to utilize our plant and equipment. We are conducting a lot of research and development and looking at costs and revenues we can generate as a result of converting to ferrochrome or ferromanganese." He said that however, it has to apply for an environmental compliance certificate from the Environment department for its new venture. The Platinum Group will submit its application next month.

Platinum Group has shelved its nickel processing plants in Iligan City in Lanao del Norte and in the town of Manticao in Misamis Oriental. A total of 139 and 129 workers were retrenched from the Iligan and Manticao plants, respectively. Seventeen employees were left in Iligan and six in Manticao. It invested USD 20.59 million and USD 9.948 million to develop the Manticao and Iligan processing plants, respectively. Berong Nickel Corporation ceased its Palawan operations last month amid dampened demand and rock-bottom prices of nickel, cutting 600 jobs and retaining less than 50 employees. But despite the drop in demand, the Platinum Group wants to sell 350,000 to 500,000 wet tonnes of nickel ore, extracted from its 4,376 hectare mine in Surigao del Norte to Chinese traders this year.