NewCo Ferronikeli is a significant strategic asset to the Republic of Kosovo with great importance to the larger economy. The complex includes a nickel production plant as well as potentially rich mineral deposits beneath the surrounding landscape. Indications of the existence of nickel ores in Kosovo , had already been discovered in 1958. The nickel ore deposits in the Kosovo are of oxide laterite type.
NewCo Ferronikeli plant is a two line plant, two electrical furnaces and two rotary kilns. It was built in 1984, with certain elements such as the electric furnaces, rotary kilns and casting machines, based on Western designs. The nickel ore is supplied to the plant from NewCo Ferronikeli’s own mines - Cikatovo and Gllavica mines or from Albania and other countries. Each process line consists of a rotary kiln, a smelter and an oxygen converter. The laterite oxide then undergoes specific preparation in hammer crushers. This is followed by homogenization and the blending of the ore with lignite to further prepare it for processing. The blended materials are then placed in the rotary kilns, where reduction and calcinations take place. From the rotary kilns, the ore is moved into the electric reduction furnaces, where approximately 50% of the sulphur in the iron/nickel alloy is removed. The remaining sulphur is removed from the liquid metal in the oxygen converters, and the iron/nickel alloy is then cast into ferronickel granules.
Balfin Group acquired the NewCo Ferronikeli complex in Drenas in July 2018. NewCo Ferronikeli has become a large component to the overall production rank of the Balfin group, which is one of the largest privately owned companies in South-East Europe with significant investments and operations in residential and commercial real estate, retail, and mining and smelting.
Balfin Group, as the new owner is now moving forward expediently in resuming production at the plant and is in full force ahead to re-establish NewCo Ferronikeli as a leading global producer and exporter of ferronickel.