African Rainbow Minerals to mothball loss-making Nkomati mine

Nkomati mine in South Africa. (Image courtesy of The Economic Geologist | Creative Commons)

South African diversified miner African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) said on Friday it would reduce production at its loss-making Nkomati mine in preparation for closure.

The nickel mine, in Mpumalanga province, was hit by soaring costs and lower metals prices in the last few years, the firm said during its annual results presentation, although nickel prices have rebounded this year.

“An agreement was reached by the joint venture partners to scale down production at the loss-making Nkomati Mine and place the mine on care and maintenance from September 2020 in preparation for closure,” ARM said.

ARM and Norilsk Nickel Africa, a unit of Russia’s Norlisk Nickel, each own 50% of Nkomati Mine.

ARM reported a 9% rise in headline earnings for the year ended in June to 5.226 billion rand ($343 million), boosted by higher iron ore, palladium and rhodium prices.

However, it said Nkomati Mine made a headline loss of 315 million rand for the financial year due in part to an increase in output costs.

($1 = 15.2369 rand)

(By Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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