BNC smelter restart project now 83% complete

ASA RESOURCES Group’ subsidiary, Bindura Nickel Corporation’s (BNC) smelter restart project is 83% complete after $21,5 million was spent on the project which is set for completion this financial year.

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

BNC managing director, Batirai Manhando said the upgrade and refurbishment of the smelter was ongoing and expected to be completed in the 2017/18 financial year.

He, however, said the refurbishment of the smelter’s crushing plant and cooling water system was now complete.

“Screening Plant structural refurbishment was completed and awaiting installation of drive systems before commissioning. Cooling water system — refurbishment work completed and section cold commissioned. Electrostatic precipitator refurbishment and mixing chamber roof repairs were completed,” Manhando said.

He said for the furnace refractory building, major civil works were completed a new 30-tonne crane was installed whereas water jackets installation was still in progress.

During the financial year ended March 31 2017, Nickel production increased by 2% year on year to 6 762 tonnes from 6 621 tonnes.

Nickel sales tonnage increased to 6 705 t from 6 613 t during the year whereas revenue increased by 7% to $45,1 million from $42,3 million.

Gross profit was $13,9 million from $9,1 million prior year.

There was a 3% fall in the achieved average nickel price received per tonne to $6 519/t from $6 737/t in same period last year.

“On the long term we expect the nickel prices to move from what we are seeing now. Having said that we accept that the price is low and we accept that we are price takers. We look at controlling our cost of production and emphasis should focus on the cost of production,” Manhando said.

According to Manhando, Yim Chiu Kwan was relieved of his role as chairman of the BNC board and replaced by Muchadeyi Ashton Masunda, a long serving board member.

David Edgar Hoover Murangari stepped down as deputy chairman and non-executive director of BNC, to allow him to focus on his new appointment as non-executive chairman of Asa.

The group CEO designate of Asa and current MD of FRGM, a sister company, Toingepi Muganyi was appointed to the BNC board on 28 June 2017.

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