UPDATE 1-Norilsk raises 2010 nickel output forecast

MOSCOW Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:14pm EST

MOSCOW Jan 29 (Reuters) - Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.MM), the world's biggest nickel and palladium producer, said on Friday it had raised its nickel output forecast for this year to 299,000-309,000 tonnes from a previous outlook of 300,000 tonnes.

The company did not say why it had changed the forecast.

It said in a statement it expected to produce 234,000 tonnes of the metal at its Russian operations in 2010 and 65,000-75,000 tonnes at its operations abroad.

Norilsk also said it planned to produce 393,000-398,000 tonnes of copper, 2.830-2.835 million ounces of palladium and 690,000-695,000 ounces of sister metal platinum in 2010.

Previously it said it expected copper output to decline by 5 percent on 2009 and platinum group metals output to be no lower than the 2009 volumes.[ID:nGEE5B80KZ]

OUTPUT IN 2009 CLOSE TO FORECAST

The statement said that the company's nickel, copper and palladium output metals output in 2009 declined from 2008, as the company had expected. Platinum output rose slightly from 2008 and was above Norilsk's latest forecast.

Nickel output was 282,894 tonnes in 2009, close to the forecast of 285,000 tonnes and down from a restated output of 300,600 tonnes in 2008.

Copper output was 402,214 tonnes, against the forecast of 406,500 tonnes and down from 419,212 tonnes a year before.

Palladium output was 2.805 million ounces up from expected 2.669 million ounces but down from 2.821 million in 2008.

Norilsk produced 661,000 ounces of platinum in 2009 compared to expected 633,000 ounces and up from 650,000 ounces in 2008.

The figures did not include output of Norilsk's U.S. unit Stillwater Mining Co. (SWC.N). (Reporting by Aleksandras Budrys, editing by Anthony Barker)

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