Name: Nkomati mine.
Location: The Nkomati mine is located 300 km east of Johannesburg, in the Mpumalanga province.
Brief history: During the early 1990s, African Rainbow Minerals explored Slaaihoek, which was followed by a major surface infill and delineation drilling programme in 1993. The Nkomati massive sulphide body mine entered production in 1997 as South Africa's first primary nickel mine. LionOre acquired 50% of Nkomati in June 2005. Norilsk Nickel holds a 50% interest in the Nkomati nickel mine as a result of Norilsk Nickel's acquisition of LionOre Mining on July 1, 2007.
Brief description: Nkomati Nickel comprises the producing Nkomati massive sulphide body (MSB) nickel mine, a lower-grade disseminated orebody, and a chrome operation. The mine has approximately 1 050 employees and contractors.
Products: Nickel, with chrome, copper, palladium and platinum as by-products.
Mining method: Underground.
Reserves: Total probable reserves as at June 30, 2010 were 129,5-million tons.
Resources: Total measured, indicated, and inferred resources as at June 30, 2010, were 266-million tons.
Geology: The Nkomati mine is situated in the Uitkomst complex, which comprises three disseminated, sulphide mineralised zones, namely the basal mineralized zone, the main mineralised zone and the chromititic pyroxenite mineralised zone. At the base of the Uitkomst complex, another sulphide orebody, the MSB, was discovered.
Major infrastructure and equipment: The Nkomati mine uses state-of-the art trackless mining equipment to drill, blast, load and haul the ore to an underground crusher. The trackless fleet consists of drill rigs, LHDs, dump trucks, a utility vehicle, roof bolter and a long-hole drill rig. Stoping involves primary and secondary extraction. A backfill plant is currently used to ensure that the orebody is extracted at a rate in excess of 98%. After the ore has been crushed at the underground crusher, it is hoisted and transported by an overland conveyor belt over a distance of approximately 300 m to a concentrator processing plant. At the processing plant, the ore is crushed. The crusher ore is fed into the primary and secondary ball mills, where it is milled. The milled ore is passed through a flotation circuit from which two types of concentrates are produced. Following this process, the moisture content of the concentrates is reduced by passing it through two filter presses. The high-grade concentrate is then sent to Botswana for smelting. The matte is sent to Xstrata for refining.
Prospects: In September 2007 Norilsk Nickel and ARM approved Phase 2 large scale mining expansion to increase the average annual nickel production to 20 500 tons from 5 500 tons and extend the life-of-mine by 18 years to 2027.
Controlling company: African Rainbow Minerals (50%) and Norilsk Nickel (50%).
Contact person: Monique Swartz, investor relations.
Unique features: Nkomati mine is one of the lowest cash cost nickel mines in the world, and South Africa's only primary nickel producer.
African Rainbow Minerals
Tel: +27 11 779 1300
Fax: +27 11 779 1312
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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