Mazabuka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 30 March 2010 – Zambia’s Chinese-owned Munali nickel mine has resumed output here, and is planning to raise its annual output of nickel ore from the current 900 000 tonnes per year to 1.2 million tonnes by 2012.
Reuters reports from here that Australian-based Albidon Limited “’ which halted operations last year at the country’s only nickel mine following a fall in metals prices “’ resumed output after China’s Jinchuan Group took over majority shareholding and invested US$37 million (R277 million) in the operation.
“I am pleased to note that the Munali mine is planning to upgrade the mine from 900 000 tonnes per annum of ore to 1.2 million tonnes of ore by 2012,” Zambian President Rupiah Banda said at a ceremony marking the resumption of production. Banda added that the mine also planned to increase the number of employees to 450 from the existing 370 by 2012 once the mine had boosted its output.
The Zambian leader defended Chinese investment in the country, which has come under increasing criticism from opposition parties who accuse Chinese companies of ignoring safety standards and ill-treating workers.
“The Chinese have dedication to develop Africa and we need to welcome them,” he said.
He went on to say that Zambia, Africa’s largest copper producer, was promoting non-traditional mineral exports such as nickel, uranium, gold and platinum, and had declared them priority minerals.
Albidon Zambia managing director Alistair Cook revealed that Munali had nickel reserves for 10 years, and emphasised that these could be extended.