Munali Nickel Mine Re-Opens

It was on 26th March 2010 that Munali Nickel Mine in Mazabuka resumed operations again.

The re-opened mine is about 100 km south of Lusaka the capital city of Zambia.

The first ever Nickel mine in Zambia, initially owned by Australia’s Albidon was closed on 3rd March 2009 due to the global financial crisis. It was under care and maintenance for close to a year. The reason given back then was that the company couldn’t continue production because the price of nickel had slumped by 56% since the company started operations in July 2008.

Nickel prices doubled between April 2009 and April 2010. The prices have remained relatively stable ever since around US$25,000 to US$26,000 a tonne.

Albidon Zambia Limited or the Nickel Mine run by Jinchuan Mining Group of China was officially re-opened by President Banda. Jinchuan Group, with its capital injection of US$37 million is now a major shareholder. Jinchuan Group is China’s largest nickel and cobalt producer.

Jinchuan owns 49.9 percent of Albidon, with an option to acquire up to 74 percent.

Mr Banda noted that he was happy that the Jinchuan Mining was planning to upgrade the mine from 900,000 tonnes of ore to 1,200,000 tonnes by 2012 and that it would increase the number of employees from the current 345 to 450 the same year once it is fully operational.

Projected Production

It has been projected that the Mine has reserves to sustain operations up to 10 years and that this could be extended if further exploration was undertaken.

In a related development the group revealed that it was conducting a feasibility study for the construction of a smelter to treat concentrates from Munali mine.

In order to undertake its production plans, Jinchuan secured a $12.6 million facility from Barclay's Bank, earmarked for underground mining equipment.

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