Munali Nickel Mine is expected to resume its long-awaited operations by the first quarter of next year after successfully securing US $40 million to commence production.

In a statement issued from its Mazabuka base, Southern Province, Munali Nickel Mine is expected to finally resume its operations early next year after successfully securing restart financing of US $40 million.

“After successfully securing re-start finance in the order of US $40million, the decision was taken in June, 2018, to bring the mine back into production with the first ore production planned for quarter one, 2019. All key personnel have since been recruited,” the statement rea

The mine has been under care and maintenance for seven years, but has undergone significant developments, such as underground blasting, that have occurred ahead of formal commencement of ore production.

“On September 14, 2018, after seven years of care and maintenance, a successful blast underground was undertaken. Construction of the first-ever Dense Media Separator (DMS) Plant in Zambia, which will improve head grade from 1 per cent to 2 per cent and improve recoveries is in progress and is expected to be commissioned before the end of the year. Some key mining equipment has arrived on site, while rehabilitation of some available units was ongoing. Process plant rehabilitation was on schedule. Orders for other new mining equipment have been placed. The mine site has been fully fenced, as required by government legislation,” read the statement.

Munali Nickel Mine located in Mazabuka District, which is about 80Km south of Lusaka, and has been on care and maintenance since November, 2011.

Consolidated Nickel Mines (CNM) acquired the rights to operate the mine from the owners Jinchuan Group out of China in 2014.

CNM, through its local subsidiary, Mabiza Resources Ltd (MRL), has completed numerous studies on the Munali property to improve the economics of the operation to enable the mine to come back into production.

Nickel prices on the international market have generally been depressed in recent years, but have steadily climbed to US $12,400 per tonne, according to the London Metal Exchange (LME).

Prices for the metal are equally set to increase drastically in the medium-term, mainly driven by significant growth in demand for battery-powered vehicles in industrialised economies, among other factors.