Ukraine's state customs service in Odesa / Photo from

Ukraine's imports of nickel ore and concentrate in January-July increased by 13.4% year-on-year to 891,670 metric tons (mt) from 786,140 mt, the state customs service said Thursday.

The value of imports of nickel ore and concentrate rose to $43.6 million from $38.4 million in January-July 2017, S&P Global Platts said.

Over January through June, Ukraine received 71% of the total imports of the commodity from Guatemala and 29% from Indonesia. Last year, all Ukraine's imports of nickel ore and concentrate came from Guatemala.

In July, Ukraine imported 143,800 mt of the commodity, up from 96,080 mt in July 2017 and up from 136,850 mt imported in June, the customs service said.

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Nickel ore is a raw material for production of ferronickel, which is used as an alloy addition in steel smelting.

Ukraine's only importer of nickel ore and producer of ferronickel, Pobuzhskiy Ferronickel Plant (PFP), is capable of processing about 1.6 million mt of wet ore to produce about 100,000 mt/year of ferronickel. The company exports most of the output.

PFP produced 35,280 mt of ferronickel in the first six months of the year, down 2.3% from 36,120 mt produced in January-June 2017.

The company processed 679,050 mt of nickel ore in January-June, up 6.1% on the year.

In 2017, Ukraine's imports of nickel ore and concentrate decreased by 4.4% to 1.31 million mt from 1.37 million mt in 2016.