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Sherritt posts loss on lower nickel sales, price

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Canadian miner Sherritt International Corp. (S-T) posted a third-quarter loss on Wednesday as lower nickel prices and sales volumes, and lower exports of thermal coal weighed on revenue.

The miner's net loss was $22.6 million, or 8 cents a share, in the quarter ended Sept 30. That compared with a profit of $45.5 million, or 16 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Adjusted to remove one-time items, earnings were 3 cents a share, compared with average analyst expectations of 9 cents a shares, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue dropped 9 percent to $422.2 million as nickel sales volumes fell 9 percent to 8.6 million pounds and thermal coal sales volumes fell 7 percent to 8.5 million tonnes.

Sherritt said the ramp-up at its Ambatovy nickel mine in Madagascar is progressing, with full commercial production expected in early 2013. The project, which is a joint venture with Sumitomo Corp. and Korea Resources Corp., is on track to remain within its $5.5 billion capital budget.

Sherritt owns nickel operations in Canada, Cuba, Indonesia and Madagascar, along with numerous coal mines in Canada and energy projects in Cuba.

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