Russia’s metals and mining major Norilsk Nickel plans to invest more than $12bn in production development over the next five years in order to boost production volumes, the company’s chief executive officer Vladimir Potanin said Monday.

The world’s largest producer of palladium, and one of the leading producers of nickel, platinum and copper, thus signalled a change of strategy from flat output to growth amid stronger global demand for its products.

“We are implementing a rather unprecedented investment programme: we are investing more than $12 billion in production development in the next five years,” Mr Potanin told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in a meeting, according to the Kremlin transcript.

The new investment program will allow a transition from the strategy of maintaining flat production volumes, which the company had maintained for many years, to one of growth, he said.

“In 2023-2024 we will complete this programme, and we count on a 20-25 per cent growth in commercial metals, and for that, the volume of ore produced will have to grow 1.5 times,” he said. “Our whole investment programme is now aimed at that.”

Mr Potanin expects near-record output of palladium and platinum on rising demand due to stricter ecological requirements.

“More and more car producers require palladium and platinum to make catalysts for air purification,” he said. “We look very positively at this process.”

While the company’s 2017 sales across all key products dropped on the year, the trend has reversed in the first nine months of this year, based on the company’s operational data.

From January to September, Norilsk Nickel produced 2.095m ounces of palladium and 513,000 ounces of platinum, up 3 per cent and 4 per cent on the year accordingly. Copper production jumped 20 per cent on the year to nearly 350,000 tonnes, while nickel output remained flat at 157,000 tonnes.

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