* Calls for output increases of 19% nickel, copper 49%
* Says platinum-group to grow by 42 pct
* Aims to stay lowest-cost producer of nickel
MOSCOW, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The board of Russian miner Norilsk Nickel has approved a strategy that envisages investing $35 billion in 2011-2025 to expand its resource base and raise output, Norilsk said on Thursday.
“It is expected that by improving efficiency of production operations at the current deposit and initiating new projects in Russia, nickel production will grow by at least 19 percent, copper production by 49 percent and platinum-group metals production by 42 percent by 2025,” a Norilsk statement said.
Norilsk, the world’s biggest nickel and palladium producer, plans to raise nickel output this year to 300,000-315,000 tonnes from 297,329 tonnes in 2010 and keep copper output at 380,000-390,000 tonnes versus 388,872 tonnes.
It expects its palladium output to be 2.85-2.87 million ounces, compared with 2.861 million in 2010, and its platinum output at 705,000-720,000 ounces, up from 693,000 ounces last year.
Norilsk aims to maintain its position as the nickel producer with the lowest cost of production, it said.
It will expand its resource base considerably through further geological exploration in the regions where it operates and through participation in new projects, including starting production of coal and iron ore, molybdenum, chrome and other metals, Norilsk said.
It said it expected the strategy to lead to significant growth in revenue and profits.
“In accordance with the approved document, by this time (2025) Norilsk Nickel should be among the top five mining and metallurgy companies in the world in terms of market capitalization,” the statement said.
UC RUSAL , the world’s top aluminium producer and owner of a quarter of Norilsk, said on Thursday its representatives on the board did not participate in the meeting as they were not provided with the documents it examined.
“Our representatives were not present at the meeting, but they voted against the strategy in written form,” a RUSAL spokeswoman said.
RUSAL has two representatives on the 13-strong Norilsk board.
Norilsk has a long-standing dispute over its management between rival oligarchs Vladimir Potanin, whose Interros investment company holds about 30 percent of Norilsk, and Oleg Deripaska, who controls RUSAL. (Reporting By Aleksandras Budrys; Editing by Lidia Kelly and Jane Baird)