Cape Town, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 17 June 2009 – The government of Zambia plans to re-open the Munali nickel mine in the Southern African country within the next month, following the suspension of the operation in March because of low nickel prices.
Mines minister Maxwell Mwale told Reuters here that the mine – Zambia’s sole nickel operation – would be re-started by China’s Jinchuan Group Limited, that country’s largest producer of nickel.
“Within the next one month they should be on course … as I was leaving Zambia they had already agreed on the scheme of arrangements,” Mwale told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum for Africa.
At the time of its closure, the underground mine was owned by Africa-focused miner Albidon Limited, through its subsidiary, Albidon Zambia Limited. Mwale said Jinchuan – a minority shareholder in Albidon – would take over the operation after increasing its stake in the struggling Australian company.
Prior to the shutdown of the mine, Jinchuan had a life-of-mine off-take agreement with Albidon.
“I think they had a 20% shareholding, and now they want to increase it to about 80%,” Mwale added.
At full capacity the mine – which came on stream last May – was expected to produce about 10 500 tonnes per year of nickel.