In March 2021, the nickel and stainless steel futures contracts’ hitting the limit down and Tsingshan Group’s announcement of the completion of the conversion from high-grade NPI to high-grade nickel matte caused a sensation in the market. There were intensive discussions in the market about the process of converting high-grade NPI to high-grade nickel matte and its cost efficiency. SMM has taken a deep dive into the inducement and future development of the transformation project in terms of the technological feasibility, the cost efficiency of raw materials, the pricing power of the nickel industry chain, as well as the industry strategy.
• Cost efficiency
SMM data showed that the full cost of high-grade NPI in the PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park was about $9,000/mt (Ni content), based on the benchmark prices of Ni1.8% nickel ore in the Indonesian market in February 2021, which stood at $41/wmt FOB. The cost of converting NPI into high-grade nickel matte was at least $1,000/mt (Ni content), and the cost of producing nickel sulphate from high-grade nickel matte was about $4,000/mt (Ni content). The market prices of nickel sulphate stood at 38,000 yuan/mt in March 2021, while the cost of producing nickel sulphate using this new process was 22,600 yuan/mt, making it profitable to shift to the new process of NPI-nickel sulphate at present.