BNC targets 7 000 tonnes output

HARARE - Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) — which recently restarted operations after a four-year closure — is targeting a production of 7 000 tonnes of nickel concentrate per  annum spurred by higher quality grades at Trojan Mine (Trojan).

Mwana Africa plc (Mwana), BNC’s parent company, yesterday released the second tranche of drilling results from Trojan, which indicated that first nickel concentrate were on target.

Early this year, Mwana injected $23 million into BNC to restart operations.

“We are especially encouraged by the fact that the grades of the recent drilling results are significantly better than historical grades,” Kalaa Mpinga, chief executive of Mwana Africa said, adding that production of the first concentrate is expected by the second quarter of 2013.

Mpinga said the improved nickel grades at Trojan confirmed the company’s confidence in the future prospects for the mine.

The AIM-listed Mwana has now drilled 8,5km to better delineate the resource since April 2010, aiming to confirm down dip extension of the massive sulphide zone within the main ore body.

The programme will delineate key resources between 37 level and 45 level, upgrade the current JORC resource and underpin mine plan extension at depth.

The current 45 000 tonnes contained nickel resource supports a less than five year operation, while yesterday’s results point to additional mine life through targeting the nickel massive sulphide zone, the goal of recommencing operations.

Mwana is a pan-African, multi-commodity resources company.

It is principal operations and exploration activities cover gold, nickel and other base metals, and diamonds in Zimbabwe, the DRC and South Africa.

It was the first African-owned and managed mining business to be listed on London’s AIM market.

The company’s Freda Rebecca gold mine in Zimbabwe restarted operations in 2009 and achieved its target production rate of 50 000 ounces gold per annum in 2011.

In February 2012, Mwana Africa announced a gold mineral resource of 2,01 million ounces at its Zani Kodo project in Democratic Republic of Congo.

The resources group has entered into a cooperation and development agreement with Zhejiang Hailiang Company Limited to jointly explore copper in the Katanga Province of the DRC. - Business Writer

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