BNC production set to increase

HARARE - Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) says it expects production at its Trojan Mine to increase by nearly 30 percent to 32,975 metric tonnes per annum after implementation of a proposed business plan by United Kingdom-based SRK Consulting (SRK).

The SRK plan indicates that Trojan had proven and probable reserves of 3,168 metric tonnes at an average grade of 1,04 percent for 32,975 tonnes of nickel, a 28 percent increase compared to 25,810 tonnes of contained nickel last year.

“SRK has reviewed the business plan for the re-start of operations at Trojan and considers the plan both realistic and achievable,” said BNC in a trading update.

The nickel producer, AIM-listed Mwana Africa plc’s flagship subsidiary, pointed out that there was likelihood that on further technical studies and exploration, more resources will be unearthed and that plans were currently being undertaken.

“The construction of the infrastructure required to access deeper levels has already commenced,” it said.

Mining experts contend that the recent first shipment of concentrate from Trojan marks a major milestone in the restoration of the company’s nickel assets, following a four-year period of care and maintenance.

Trojan — put under care and maintenance in 2008 due to viability challenges — restarted operations last year.

The timing of the shipment was in line with previous guidance where Mwana indicated that it will ship at least 7 000 tonnes of nickel concentrate per annum to Swiss-headquartered global commodities giant, Glencore International (Glencore).

Following the refurbishment of the surface milling, flotation, tailings and concentrate handling facilities, hot commissioning has been successfully completed and the first shipment of nickel concentrate was trucked from the Trojan Mine to Durban.

“This marks a major milestone in our strategy to bring our nickel assets out of care and
maintenance and back into production.

“I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to the BNC staff, and to all those who have supported Mwana and BNC, for their contribution to this achievement,” said Kalaa Mpinga, Mwana’s chief executive officer.

Mwana owns a 52,9 percent stake in BNC, the only fully-integrated nickel operation in Africa.

The shipment takes place under the terms of the previously announced off-take agreement between Glencore and BNC.

The pan-African mining conglomerate recently announced that its nickel resource at Trojan Mine increased 152 percent after further exploration and drilling.

The group said the results of the drilling clearly demonstrate the longevity of the deposit.

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