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Troubled Philippine nickel plant muddies Sumitomo Metal's outlook

Stock price plunges as Japanese miner misses out on boom

The Taganito HPAL Nickel processing center in the Philippines was beset by mechanical problems throughout fiscal 2018.

TOKYO -- Repeated operational problems at Sumitomo Metal Mining's nickel smelting site in the Philippines are threatening the company's reputation as a cost-competitive producer, with its tanking stock prices reflecting investor worries.

Facility breakdowns at Taganito HPAL Nickel forced multiple suspensions in the year through March, resulting in production declines. The trouble started after the Philippine smelting plant increased its annual production capacity from 30,000 tons to 36,000 tons to meet high demand for nickel, which is used in electric vehicle batteries.

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