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UPDATE 1-MCC Delays Ramu Nickel Mine Startup to Year End
Aug 26, 2010 15:25CST

HONG KONG, Aug. 25 -- Production at Metallurgical Corp of China Ltd's (MCC) (1618.HK: Quote) Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea is likely to be delayed to the end of the year, six months later than previously scheduled, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

"We estimate the Ramu nickel mine will be able to start production by the end of this year," MCC Vice-President Huang Dan told a news conference in Hong Kong.

Construction of the mine has been delayed due to health-related safety checks, she said.

Once it starts production, the mine is expected to produce 40,000 tonnes of metal in the first year, 78,000 tonnes in the second year, 77,000 tonnes in the third year and 74,000 tonnes in the fourth year.

Huang also said MCC was doing the final feasibility study on its copper mine project in Afghanistan and the study would be completed in one to two months. The mine is set to begin production in 2013.

The study will give details of the Aynak copper project, including which month production would start.

The Aynak copper project is 75 percent owned by MCC and 25 percent owned by China's top copper producer, Jiangxi Copper (0358.HK: Quote) (600362.SS: Quote).

The copper mine is expected to have a designed annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes of metal in the first phase and expand to 320,000 tonnes later.

Once Aynak copper mine starts production, it is expected to annually produce 401,000 tonnes of concentrate in the first year, 493,000 tonnes both in the second and third year, and 987,000 tonnes in the fourth year, according to MCC's estimate.

Concentrate is smelted and then refined into metal.

Huang said MCC's subsidiary Huludao Zinc (000751.SZ: Quote) had built new copper smelting capacity to bring total to 150,000 tonnes, which would be partly fed by concentrates from the Aynak mine.


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