Operational performance

SERGEY DYACHENKO
Sergey Dyachenko First Vice-President – Chief Operating Officer

In 2019, the Company increased the output of all key metals as a result of improved operating efficiency, optimization of production flow and ongoing ramp-up of Bystrinsky project. Total nickel output increased 5% year-on-year to 229 kt owing to the ramp-up of the refining shop operating new chlorine leaching technology and expansion of carbonyl nickel production capacity at Kola MMC. Total copper output increased 5% year-on-year to a record of 499 kt driven by improved operating efficiency, increased mined ore volumes and higher copper grades at Talnakh mines as well as the ramp-up of Bystrinsky (Chita) project that was fully commissioned in September 2019. Palladium and platinum output increased 7% and 8% year-on-year to 2.9 moz and 0.7 moz, respectively, owing primarily to the release of work-in-progress inventory.

Ore output (mln t)
Asset 2017 2018 2019
Assets in Russia (copper-nickel sulphide ore) 25.0 25.2 26.3
Polar Division and Medvezhy Ruchey 17.4 17.3 18.4
Kola MMC 7.6 7.9 7.9
Assets in Russia (gold-iron-copper ores) 0 7.9 10.5
GRK Bystrinkoye 0 7.9 10.5
Nkomati (South Africa) All metrics for Nkomati are hereinafter shown based on the 50% ownership. Nkomati’s operating results are not consolidated into the Group’s total results. 3.5 3.1 3.5
Average mined grades
Asset 2017 2018 2019
Nickel, %
Polar Division and Medvezhy Ruchey 1.3 1.3 1.3
Kola MMC 0.5 0.6 0.5
Nkomati 0.3 0.3 0.3
Copper, %
Polar Division and Medvezhy Ruchey 2.2 2.2 2.2
Kola MMC 0.2 0.2 0.2
GRK Bystrinkoye n/a 0.4 0.6
Nkomati 0.1 0.1 0.1
PGMs, g/t Five platinum group metals: palladium, platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, and iridium.
Polar Division and Medvezhy Ruchey 6.8 6.8 6.9
Kola MMC 0.1 0.1 0.1
Nkomati n/a n/a n/a
Metals recovery in concentrationMetals recovery in bulk concentrate.
Asset 2017 2018 2019
Nickel, %
Polar Division and Medvezhy Ruchey 79.9 81.5 83.1 Metals recovery in bulk concentrate.
Kola MMC 69.8 69.5 67.9
Nkomati 70.7 65.9 64.2
Copper, %
Polar Division and Medvezhy Ruchey 94.7 94.6 95.2 Metals recovery in bulk concentrate.
Kola MMC 75.4 74.1 73.2
GRK Bystrinkoye n/a 82.9 87.7
Nkomati 90.9 88.4 87.7
PGMs, %
Polar Division and Medvezhy Ruchey 81.5 82.7 85.2 Metals recovery in bulk concentrate.
Metals recovery in smelting
Asset 2017 2018 2019
Nickel, %
Polar Division and Medvezhy Ruchey Feedstock to finished products. 93.9 94.6 94.6
Kola MMC Feedstock to converter matte. 96.5 96.7 96.7
Kola MMC In refining, converter matter to finished products. 98.2 98.0 97.0
Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta In refining, converter matter to finished products. 98.5 97.9 97.9
Copper, %
Polar Division and Medvezhy Ruchey Feedstock to finished products. 94.0 94.4 94.1
Kola MMC Feedstock to converter matte. 96.2 96.1 96.2
Kola MMC In refining, converter matter to finished products. 97.4 97.6 96.5
Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta In refining, converter matter to finished products. 99.7 99.7 99.8
PGMs, %
Polar Division and Medvezhy Ruchey Feedstock to finished products. 95.6 95.9 95.8
Kola MMC In refining, converter matter to finished products. 96.7 94.0 91.6
Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta In refining, converter matter to finished products. 99.3 99.8 99.8
Saleable metals production
Product 2017 2018 2019
Group total
Nickel, kt 217.1 218.8 228.7
— from own Russian feedstock 210.1 216.9 225.2
Copper, kt 401.1 473.7 499.1
— from own Russian feedstock 397.8 473.5 498.8
Palladium, koz 2,780 2,729 2,922
— from own Russian feedstock 2,728 2,729 2,919
Platinum, koz 670 653 702
— from own Russian feedstock 650 653 700
Assets in Russia
Nickel, kt 157.4 158.0 166.3
Copper, kt 387.6 455.6 486.2
Palladium, koz 2,738 2,671 2,868
Platinum, koz 660 642 690
Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta (Finland)
Nickel, kt 59.7 60.8 62.4
Copper, kt 13.4 18.0 12.9
Palladium, koz 42 58 54
Platinum, koz 10 11 12
Nkomati (South Africa) Nkomati’s operating results are not consolidated into the Group’s total results.
Nickel, kt 8.0 6.6 6.5
Copper, kt 4.5 3.1 3.4
Palladium, koz 46 33 33
Platinum, koz 20 13 14
Production breakdown by asset in 2019 (share of the Group’s total production) (%)