Munali Nickel Mine
CNM has partnered with Jinchuan to restart mining operations at the Munali nickel mine, located 75 km south of Lusaka in Zambia. A lease and royalty agreement has been signed giving CNM full operational control of the Munali mine and the adjacent exploration area for a 10 year period with the option to extend by another 10 years at CNM’s discretion.
In excess of $180m has already been 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. During this time, a new geological model has been developed, a new JORC resource has been defined and a new mining method has been planned to extract the nickel from the ore body more efficiently and economically.
CNM are preparing the mine to be able restart within 3 months of the nickel market returning and receipt of development approval. The feasibility study for the mine restart was completed in March 2015 and all key mine infrastructure and operational permits are in place including personnel. In-country, the mine will be operated through CNM’s wholly owned operating company, Mabiza Resources Ltd, and will employ approximately 450 mine personnel once fully operational.
Embedded Social Commitment:
As part of the Agreement signed with Jinchuan, CNM completed the original commitments outlined in the 2006 Relocation Action Plan (RAP) prepared by Albidon Zambia, which included physical relocation of some households, construction of a new school and medical clinic.
Munali Optimisation: Long Term Sustainability
CNM has developed a value add plan for long-term nickel sulphate or nickel metal production. Optimisation studies are already underway with the potential to include an SX/EW circuit to produce a nickel sulphate and metal, significantly reducing operating costs.
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 could be the cornerstone for a number of similar projects in the region.