TOKYO, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corp expects that nickel output at its Ambatovy project in Madagascar will likely fall short of its earlier target of 48,000 tonnes in the year to March 2019, its chief financial officer said on Friday.
"The Ambatovy has run at about 64-65 percent of full capacity in the April to June quarter and it is running at about 70 percent now," Sumitomo CFO Koichi Takahata told a news conference, adding that it aims to raise and maintain the rate at 80 percent as soon as possible.
Sumitomo said in May that it expected around 48,000 tonnes of nickel output at the Ambatovy nickel-cobalt project this financial year based on the assumption of an average operation rate of 80 percent.
Sumitomo owns a 47.7 percent stake in Ambatovy, while Canada's Sherritt International Corp and South Korea's Korea Resources Corp also hold stakes in the project.
Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; editing by Richard Pullin