UPDATE 1-Sherritt's Madagascar nickel plant output at commercial rates

Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:42pm EST

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Jan 22 (Reuters) - Sherritt International Corp said on Wednesday its Ambatovy nickel operations in Madagascar had achieved commercial production.

Commercial production is defined as 70 percent of ore throughput of nameplate capacity in the Pressure Acid Leach circuit on average over a thirty-day period, Sherritt said.

The Toronto-based company said the focus at Ambatovy remains to achieve nameplate capacity, which is 60,000 tonnes per annum of finished nickel and 5,500 tonnes per annum of finished cobalt.

"Bringing Ambatovy to commercial status is a key milestone in its development as a long-life, low-cost producer of finished nickel and finished cobalt," David Pathe, president and chief executive of Sherritt said in a statement.

Ambatovy is a joint venture comprising Sherritt, who owns 40 percent and operates the facility, Sumitomo Corp and Korea Resources Corp each with a 27.5 percent stake and SNC-Lavalin Inc with a 5 percent interest.

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