Nkomati Nickel expansion project
20 February 2006
African Rainbow Minerals Limited � (ARM), and LionOre Mining International – (LionOre) 50:50 joint venture owners of the Nkomati Nickel Mine in the Mpumalanga Province in South Africa advise that approval has been granted by the respective boards to proceed with a project to increase monthly production in order to maintain nickel output at 5 000 tons per year.
The Joint Venture partners are continuing to evaluate the major expansion project (envisaged to include an Activox� metal refinery) and it is anticipated that this evaluation and feasibility study will only be complete in 2007. The concentrator has been designed to form an integral part of the major expansion project in the future.
The current operation processes approximately 30 000 tonnes per month from the MSB ore body with an output of 5 000 tonnes per annum of nickel and associated byproducts. It is anticipated that this orebody will be depleted during 2008.
A new 100 000 tons per month concentrator plant, tailings dam and related infrastructure to mine from the disseminated Main Mineralised Zone (MMZ) orebody, will be built at an estimated capital cost of R384 million (US$62 million), to be spent over the next 18 months. It is anticipated that full production at an annualised rate of 5 000 tonnes of nickel will be achieved by the end of 2007 which will continue for at least 10 years.
Mining of the MMZ reef will be from two areas; 47 000 tons per month from the current underground infrastructure and 53 000 tons per month from surface mining, at a combined run of mine grade of 0.58% nickel. In addition to the nickel production, the concentrate produced will contain significant byproducts (copper, cobalt and PGM’s) and will continue to be toll refined at various facilities around the world.
ARM’s Chief Executive Officer, Andre Wilkens said: “The decision to proceed is in line with our growth strategy. Nickel is one of our key commodity focus areas, the project comfortably meets our required rate of return and its implementation will reduce the risk of a major expansion considerably.”
LionOre’s Chief Executive Officer, Colin Steyn said: “The interim plan is a common sense extension to Nkomati’s life and nickel production while both partners continue to fully evaluate and optimise the expansion potential.”
For further details, contact
Tel: +27 11 779 1476
Mobile: +27(0)82 570 5064
Tel: +27 11 779 1478
Mobile: +27(0)83 380 6614
LionOre Mining International
President & CEO
Phone: +44(0) 20 7590 8888
Phone: +27 11 463 4223