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UPDATE 1-Indonesia's Antam Q1 nickel ore output up more than four-fold y/y

(Adds 2020 figures)

JAKARTA, May 3 (Reuters) - Indonesian state miner Aneka Tambang (Antam) said on Monday its nickel ore output rose more than four-fold in the first three months of 2021 compared to the same period a year ago.

Antam’s nickel ore output stood at 2.64 million wet metric tonnes (WMT) in the first quarter, up from 629,000 WMT in the same period in 2020, the company said in a statement.

Antam’s nickel ore sales, meanwhile, stood at 1.6 million wet metric tonnes in the first quarter, the company said.

The company did not say why nickel ore output surged, but Indonesia, one of the world’s biggest producers, has vowed to ramp up processing of nickel laterite ore for use in lithium batteries as part of a bid to eventually become a global hub for producing and exporting EVs.

An Antam spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters’ quarterly poll showed last week that refined nickel supply will exceed demand by 31,000 tonnes this year and 66,500 tonnes next year.

Antam also announced on Monday that its ferronickel output stood at 6,300 tonnes nickel in ferronickel (TNi) in the first quarter, down 0.2% from a year ago.

Ferronickel sales for January-March stood at 5,624 TNi, down about 12% from 6,379 TNi sold last year, the company said.

Antam’s first quarter bauxite output also jumped, up to 557,354 WMT, versus 330,984 WMT last year. Bauxite sales surged to 384,785 WMT, UP from 55,277 WMT a year ago. (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe; Writing by Fathin Ungku Editing by Ed Davies)

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