BOGOTA, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Australian miner South32 Ltd late next year will begin extraction of ferronickel at a site close to its Cerro Matoso mine in northern Colombia to boost annual production by 5,000 tons by 2020, the company said on Wednesday.
The 1,000 hectare project, known as El Esmeralda, requires investment of about $15 million, Ricardo Gaviria, Cerro Matoso's president in Colombia, said in a statement.
La Esmeralda will boost output at Cerro Matoso to about 40,000 tons between 2018 and 2020, the statement said. South32 also mines nickel in Colombia.
Cerro Matoso, in northern Cordoba province, produced 36,000 tonnes of ferronickel last year, and expects that to drop to 30,000 by 2029.
Nickel trades at $10,550 per tonne. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by Matthew Lewis)