Munali Nickel Mine
CNM acquired full operational control of the Munali Nickel Mine and adjacent exploration area in 2015 through a 10 year lease and royalty agreement with Jinchuan, with an option to extend for a further 10 years.
Located 75 km south of Lusaka in Zambia, the mine has excellent transport and communication links in a well-known mining jurisdiction.
In excess of $180 million has been spent by previous owners on developing Munali 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 used, this led to uneconomic operations. When the nickel price fell in 2011, the mine was placed on care and maintenance.
CNM Turn Around
CNM have developed an optimised, mechanised mining method and a low cost mine plan. New metallurgical technologies and upgrades to the water supply system, primary plant and tailings management have also been implemented. A new JORC resource of 6Mt at 1% Ni has been defined and the new mining method means the nickel is extracted from the orebody more efficiently and economically. The mine was restarted in 2019, exposing management weaknesses in CNM.
Co-owners, CE Mining Ltd (CE), assumed full operational control in mid 2019 and appointed an entirely new, strengthened management team.
Zambia’s Premier Nickel Mine
Munali is now in its third year of continuous operations and exporting high grade +12.5% Ni concentrate. Offtake agreements are in place and production ramp-up hit targets, producing 2,760t Ni metal in 2020, 3,672t Ni metal in 2021 and 3,946t Ni metal in 2022 (unreconciled). Munali’s production target is to produce 4,139t Ni in 2023 at average grades of +12% Ni concentrate.
Munali Optimisation: Long Term Sustainability
CNM is implementing further concentrator optimisations including a dedicated Cu/PGM circuit and float automation to improve recoveries. Longer term, further value-add may be achieved by nickel sulphate or nickel metal production which attracts a premium.