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LocalNews

Nickel price to firm up – BNC

By Business Reporter – Tuesday 15 September 2020

HARARE (Mining Index) – BINDURA Nickel Corporation (BNC) is optimistic nickel (Ni) prices will firm in the long term.

Presenting half year results for year ended 31 March 2020, BNC Managing Director Batirai Manhando said the Nickel price outlook is promising.

“Based on consensus forecasts, Nickel prices are expected to improve in the long term,” he said.

Batirai Manhando – Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) Managing Director

Manhando attributed the anticipated increase in Ni price to increased demand of the mineral in the electric vehicle (EV) industry which is about to reach the tipping point in the penetration curve globally.

According to analytics from GlobalData, the number of electric vehicles is expected to increase from 1.6 million in 2018 to 6.8 million in 2023, and the demand for nickel for lithium-ion batteries is expected to quadruple over this period from 3%-4% in 2019.

Last year, Manhando revealed BNC had forecasted nickel prices at US$19 996 in 2015, US$21 000 for 2016, US$20 918 in 2017 while US$18 132 for 2018 and beyond.

The current global Ni price on the London Metal Exchange (LME) is pegged at US$15 090 per tonne, up from US$12,535 recorded in March this year.

Manhando said the smelter project, which remains at 83% complete, was dependant on firming of Ni prices.

“As soon as Nickel price fundamentals improve significantly enough, the Board will ensure that the Project is completed,”

“Nickel prices that obtained during the period under review, though relatively higher were not high enough to change the circumstances under which the Project can be resumed. At current Ni prices, power tariffs and available feed levels, the Smelter will not be viable. Discussions with various interested parties on the Smelter are still on-going,” said Manhando.

BNC announced changes to the shareholding structure of the Company, whereby Asa Resource Group sold its entire shareholding in BNC amounting to 74.73% of the issued shares of the Company to Sotic International Limited, a company registered in Mauritius.

Messrs Olivier Alain Barbeau, Oliver Mandishona Chidawu, Alex Peter Danso and Toindepi Retias Muganyi (all Non-Executive Directors) and Mr Johannes Hendrikus Lambertus Lampen (Finance Director) resigned from the Board during the period October to December 2019.

Messrs Jozef Clifford Behr, Obey Chimuka and Christopher Fourie joined the Board as Non-Executive Directors on 1st November 2019 while Messrs Craig Gerald Meerholz and David Hugh Brown joined as Non-Executive Directors on 27th February 2020 and 1st April 2020 respectively. However, Mr Fourie resigned on 8th July 2020.

In the outlook, the current mining plan, blending of disseminated ore with ‘Massives’ ore is expected to continue into the next financial year, with further continuous improvement initiatives and cost saving measures implemented to remain a low cost producer.

BNC currently has over 400 000 tonnes of nickel in its reserves, with Trojan Mine sitting on 76 000 tonnes, Shangani Mine 65 000 tonnes, Hunters Road 200 000 tonnes and Damba Silwane exploration opportunity with 67 000 tonnes. ENDS// www.miningndex.co.zw

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