BNC restart on course

HARARE - Mwana Africa plc (Mwana)’s plans to restart production at Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) in Mashonaland Central province are on course.

The AIM-listed group said 1 337m of underground development, allowing for the re-commissioning of rock handling systems, shafts and surface crushing facilities, had been executed while 41 000 tonnes of ore were crushed and stockpiled during the quarter ended December 2012.

BNC’s Trojan Mine (Trojan) recently restarted operations — after a four-year closure — following the injection of $23 million fresh capital.

“The pace of the mine preparation and processing plant refurbishment work that is currently being conducted at the Trojan mine has been exceptional. Work has progressed well, both in the underground section and the processing plant refurbishment programme,” said Kalaa Mpinga, Mwana chairperson.

He said a total of approximately 71 000 tonnes of ore and waste rock were hoisted during the period under review with 52 000 tonnes of crushed ore presently on mill feed stockpiles.

“The refurbishment of the surface milling and concentrator circuits, together with concentrate and tailings handling facilities, has progressed well and is at an advanced stage. Trojan remains on track to sell first concentrate in Q2 2013,” Mpinga said.

BNC has an off-take agreement with Glencore International for the sale of concentrate from Trojan.

“The Company remains on track to sell first concentrate to our off-take partner, Glencore International, in Q2 2013.”

The first phase of the resource drilling programme at Trojan, aimed at confirming the down dip extension of the massive sulphide zone within the main ore body, was completed during the quarter.

Late last year, Mwana reported a number of significant intersections of high grade nickel intercepts.

“Work is underway to complete an updated resource statement from the results generated to date,” Mpinga said.

He said Mwana targeted a production of 7 000 tonnes of nickel concentrate per annum spurred by the higher quality grades at Trojan.

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

Its 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 group said its gold producer Freda Rebecca (Freda) produced 16 506 ounces of gold in the quarter ended December 2012, up 43 percent from previous comparable period.

Freda restarted operations in 2009 and achieved its target production rate of 50 000 ounces gold per annum in 2011. The miner produced 52 840 ounces in nine months to date, representing a 58 percent increase on the comparable period last year.

The group said the current rate of production reflected an annualised rate of over 70 000 ounces per annum. - Business Writer

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