Munali Nickel Mine
CNM acquired full operational control of the Munali nickel mine and adjacent exploration area, including its resources and infrastructure, in 2015 through a lease and royalty agreement with Jinchuan. The agreement was signed for a 10 year period with the option to extend by another 10 years at CNM’s discretion. The mine is located 75 km south of Lusaka in Zambia and is well located, with excellent transport and communication links in a well known mining jurisdiction. Full financing has now been secured to restart operations.
Munali has already had in excess of $180m spent by the previous owners in developing the mine, installing a concentrator and bringing the mine into production. However, for a number of reasons, such as the use of the wrong geological model and hence the wrong mining method being employed, this lead to uneconomic operations when the nickel price fell, and the placing of the mine on care and maintenance at the end of 2011.
CNM Turn Around
Working with the mine’s management team, CNM has spent the past two years conducting extensive evaluation and study work at Munali to put together a sustainable restart plan. A new geological model has been developed, a new JORC resource has been defined; 6Mt at 1 percent Ni; and a new mining method has been employed to extract the nickel from the ore body more efficiently and economically. The feasibility study for the mine restart was completed in March 2015. In-country, the mine will be operated through CNM’s wholly owned operating company, Mabiza Resources Ltd.
In September 2018, CNM succesfully concluded a transaction with a Chinese listed company and secured the full financing to re-start the Munali Mine.
Zambia’s Next Nickel Producer
First nickel concentrate is targeted By Q1 2019. By Q3 2019, CNM will have met production ramp up schedule, delivering 60,000 tonnes of ore per month and 25,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate by the end of 2019. CNM’s immediate objective is low cost nickel concentrate production: C1 ≈ $9,000/t Ni.
Munali Optimisation: Long Term Sustainability
CNM has developed a value add plan for long-term nickel sulphate or nickel metal production. CNM is evaluating the opportunity of building and designing a leach plant to add value by moving to nickel sulphate or nickel metal production: C1 < $5,000/t Ni). In addition, CNM will continue to identify and secure other assets to further diversify their portfolio with a potential IPO listing on the cards in late 2019.
The new geological model, new resource estimate and new mining method have been designed to ensure that this time around, Munali’s operations will be sustainable. Additionally, CNM believe that this will be the cornerstone for a number of similar projects in the region and beyond.