Consolidated Mining and Investments Ltd. unit Consolidated Nickel Mines PLC plans to restart production at the Munali nickel mine in Zambia in the first quarter of 2019.
The struggling mine was placed on care and maintenance in late 2011 due to low metal prices.
The company signed a lease and royalty agreement to gain full control of Munali and the adjacent exploration area for a 10-year period, with an option to extend the lease by another 10 years.
In September, Consolidated Nickel Mines concluded a transaction with China's Jinchuan Group Co. Ltd. to restart the mine. Jinchuan acquired a 32% equity stake in Consolidated Nickel Mines as part of the agreement and will also appoint three members to the latter's board.
The company is fully funded to restart operations and produce its first nickel concentrate in the first quarter of 2019.
Production ramp-up, meanwhile, is expected by the third quarter of 2019, yielding 60,000 tonnes of ore per month and 25,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate by the end of that year.
In addition, Consolidated Nickel Mines developed a value-add plan for long-term nickel sulfate or nickel metal production, while optimization studies are already underway.