(Nickel output decline at Bindura Nickel mine) 19-06-07

BINDURA Nickel Corporation (BNC) has reported a 9% slumpl in its processed nickel output in 2006, due to a lack of skilled labour, equipment breakdowns and electricity shortages.
BNC, the country's largest nickel producer, also saw ore production declining to 1,52 million tonnes, from 1,65 millio

n in 2005.
BNC chairman Kalaa Mpinga said refined nickel output in 2006 was 5,451 tonnes, a nine percent fall from 5,994 the previous year.
The migration of skilled and experienced personnel led to loss of continuity in the application of essential systems and procedures, and in some cases to the appointment of personnel of limited competence.
Mpinga said the expected growth of the platinum sector was also expected to “absorb a significant proportion of the dwindling national pool of skills”.
Electricity shortages and a skewed exchange rate were also suffocating Bindura’s operations while delays in the eagerly awaited amendments to the mining laws were keeping potential investors away.
Mpinga said preparations for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2008 could affect mining operations as “there will inevitably be increased political activity, tending to affect mining operations, which have large resident communities.”

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