MOSCOW, April 26 (Reuters) - Russia's Norilsk Nickel
(Nornickel) has cut the 2018 production forecast for
its new Bystrinsky copper project near the Chinese border due to
a problem with equipment which it hopes to fix in the second
quarter, it said on Thursday.
    Nornickel, part-owned by Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin and
aluminium giant Rusal, said its 2018 output forecast
from its main assets was unaffected, amid increased production
of all its key metals in the first three months of the year.
    "In April 2018, the first batch of copper concentrate ....
at Bystrinsky GOK (Chita Copper Project) was shipped to Chinese
customers," Sergey Dyachenko, Nornickel Chief Operating Officer,
said in a statement.
    "We have however reduced the 2018 production targets for the
Chita project due to the ramp-up issues at the FLS and Outotec
supplied equipment, which we plan to sort out in this quarter
... Overall, we confirm our 2018 targets for metal production
from our own Russian feed," he added.
    Nornickel competes with Brazil's Vale SA to be
the world's top nickel producer. The Russian company is also the
world's largest palladium producer.
    Its first-quarter consolidated nickel production rose 1
percent year-on-year to 54,063 tonnes, while palladium output
was 583,000 troy ounces, up 6 percent. Platinum output rose 6
percent to 138,000 troy ounces and copper production increased
18 percent to 111,598 tonnes, Nornickel said.
    The Bystrinsky project is now expected to produce
25,000-31,000 tonnes of copper and 90,000-110,000 ounces of gold
in concentrate in 2018, Nornickel said. The previous forecast
was for 35,000-40,000 tonnes of copper and 180,000-200,000
ounces of gold concentrate.
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