Mirabela Nickel has posted steady fourth quarter production results and delivered a cautiously positive outlook for the year ahead.
The company announced full-year production of 19,253 tonnes of nickel in concentrate, which was in line with guidance.
Fourth quarter production of 5291 tonnes was down slightly on the third quarter's figure of 5441 tonnes.
Processing plant throughput of 1.7 million tonnes was also down slightly on the third quarter figure of 1.8 million tonnes.
Sales in the fourth quarter of 5044 tonnes was down slightly on the third quarter (5381 tonnes).
Unit cash costs of $US4.91 a pound in the fourth quarter was lower than the third quarter ($US5.38 a pound).
Mirabela said it held $US143 million in cash at the end of December down from $US160 million at the end of the third quarter.
The company said it was targeting full-year 2013 production of 22,000-24,000 tonnes.
"Production is expected to be stronger in the second half of the year because of improved access to higher quality South Pit ore during the second half of the year and scheduled maintenance work on the primary crusher during the first half of the year," Mirabela said in a statement.
Unit cash costs were expected to average $US5-$US6 a pound for the year.
The company has budgeted $US40-$US50 million for capital expenditure, exploration and study costs in 2013.
Mirabela operates the Santa Rita nickel mine in Brazil.Mirabela shares were off one cent, or 1.82 per cent, to 54 cents at 9.25am.