The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: BNC Resumes Milling Operations

BINDURA Nickel Corporation will restart milling operations early next month, paving the way for concentrate exports, chief operating officer Mr Batirai Manhando has said. The company, which operates Trojan Mine - the largest nickel mine in the country - would restart the milling circuit, now in the final stages of refurbishment.

"We have so far built half a month's stock supply (to the milling plant) and we are on course to resume milling in the first week of February," said Mr Manhando in an interview last week. "At the moment, we are putting some final touches on the milling plant."

BNC was placed under care and maintenance in 2008 after succumbing to volatile metal prices on global markets and the crippling economic challenges in the country at the time.

Recently, after dollarisation and an improved operating environment countrywide, together with a recovery in the nickel price, BNC management decided the time was right to restart operations at the mine.

The strategy is to phase the restart operations with the first step being Trojan mine.

But BNC has struggled to raise the required funding for the restart until in June last year when its major shareholder, Mwana Africa, offered to underwrite a US$21 million rights issue.

Mwana Africa, through its subsidiary, Zimnick, invested US$21 million into BNC through this process. Other shareholders invested an additional US$2 million in new cash.

BNC said the US$23 million was sufficient to fund the first year of the Trojan restart, adding that the group would require an additional US$11 million for the second year of the restart.

After the mine has restarted, BNC is targeting an annual production of 7 000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate.

It will take about three years to reach this level of production. BNC has already entered into an off-take agreement with Glencore who will purchase all the nickel concentrate produced by Trojan.

Mr Manhando said the company would raise US$11 million towards the end of the year through debt to further recapitalise the operation. This will mark the full recapitalisation of the firm.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 The Herald. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.