PRODUCTION at the Munali Nickel Mine in Mazabuka that was suspended in 2011 is expected to resume in the third quarter of this year, a senior company official has said.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the on-going African Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town, Consolidated Nickel Mine (CNM) general manager Matthew Banda said about US$40 million is expected to be invested to start operations at the initial stage.
However, Mr Banda said a total of US$100 million is expected to be invested to start full operations and will result in the creation of 400 direct jobs and 300 indirect jobs through contractors to be engaged by the mine.
â€œOnce operational, the mine will boost economic activity and broaden the income-generating base in Mazubuka, which is currently driven by sugar production.
â€œWe have been looking forward to re-open, the mine. We have done feasibility studies and are looking at how best we can to lower the cost of production at the mine and we now want to start operations,â€ he said.
He also said about US$ 250,000 is being spent on care and maintenance monthly.
Mr Banda said the mine, which is on a US$250,000 monthly cost of care and maintenance, will in the third quarter start producing nickel concentrate with finished nickel expected to be produced next year once the processing plant is upgraded.
He said the company is expected to produce about 5,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate at initial stage.
â€œOn the concentrate side ,we are looking at around 5,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate, so if the concentrate is going to be around 12 percent, we are looking at over 40,000 tonnes at the end of the year,â€ he said.
Mr Banda said recruitment of employees and buying of more equipment will be concluded by June, 2017.