Mwana Africa looks to reopen Bindura Nickel

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MWANA Africa a producer of nickel, gold and diamonds, is considering restarting its Bindura nickel smelter after a drop in prices eroded profit margins on supplying the metal as concentrate.
“Nickel at this level is putting a lot of stress on the system, particularly when exporting concentrate,” Chief Executive Officer Kalaa Mpinga said in an interview at the African Development Bank annual meeting in Morocco Tuesday.
“It will increase pressure on us to restart our smelter and refinery as soon as possible.”
Mwana’s Bindura site is the only integrated nickel mine, smelter and refinery operation in Africa, according to the London-based company’s website.
The price of nickel for delivery in three months has dropped 13 percent to $14,840 a metric ton since the start of 2013 in London Metal Exchange trading.
“In the next three to four months, we will be able to make a decision,” said Mpinga. “It is one of our foremost priorities.”
Bindura Nickel and its feeder Shangani and Trojan Mines were placed on care and maintenance in November 2008 after a sharp decline in the price of nickel at a time the country’s economic crisis was also peaking.
A unity government came into office in 2009 helping ease political tensions as well as putting the country’s economy on a path to recover.
Mwana Africa management says conditions are now in place for a phased restart of operations at Bindura in a phased programme which would begin with the re-opening of Trojan mine.
The company completed a restructuring and recapitalisation exercise last year which also raise funds for the Trojan restart.Advertisement