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Mwana Africa restarts work at Zimbabwe mine

Mwana Africa has moved to restart production at Zimbabwe's formerly lucrative Trojan Nickel Mine following the raising of $23m through a rights issue and share placement scheme.
Zimbabwean miners have had to negotiate a tricky indigenisation policy which requires them to cede 51% majority shareholding stakes to black Zimbabwean groups.

Investors and economists have criticised the policy, saying it has driven away foreign direct investment and forced others to scale down production or halt expansion projects.

But most of them, including Impala Platinum's Zimplats and Anglo Platinum's Unki mine, have now complied although it was not immediately clear whether Mwana Africa had reached an agreement with the Zimbabwean government about this issue.

"Following the success of the rights issue, work has commenced on the restart programme at Trojan Nickel Mine which is focused on the mobilisation of the workforce, the commencement of underground operations and the refurbishment of certain components of the milling, flotation and concentrate handling facilities," Mwana Africa said.

The company's main Freda Rebecca Gold Mine, also in Zimbabwe, produced 18,350oz during the quarter ending September 30, a 34% jump in output from the same period last year.

The mine's rate of production, which also resulted in cash costs declining to 715/oz from the June quarter's $815/oz, reflects an annualised rate of 72,000oz per year. Gold prices inched up 0.39% to 1,682/oz yesterday.

Mwana Africa has attributed the quarterly gold production increase to "an increase in milled tonnage" and a rise in "grade and improved recoveries".

Mwana Africa CEO Kalaa Mpinga said he would soon update shareholders on "the refurbishment programme now under way" at the large nickel operation, Bindura Nickel Complex, which encompasses Trojan.

The sale of the first concentrate of nickel was expected in the second quarter of next year, he said.

Bindura Nickel Complex has an offtake agreement in place with Glencore International for the sale of nickel concentrate from the Trojan mine.

In August, Mwana Africa said that it had entered into a co-operation and development agreement with Chinese company Zhejiang Hailiang to jointly explore its copper licence areas in the Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The company has other operations including the Zani-Kodo gold project in the Congo as well, while there are other mining projects in SA.

Following a rights issue and share placement scheme which raised $23m, Trojan Nickel Mine will resume underground operations.

Source: Business Day via I-Net Bridge

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