Mwana Africa’s CEO Considers Restarting Zimbabwe Nickel Smelter

May 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mwana Africa Plc, a producer of nickel, gold and diamonds, is considering restarting its nickel smelter in northeastern Zimbabwe after a drop in prices eroded profit margins on supplying the metal as concentrate.

“Nickel at this level is putting a lot of stress on the system, particularly when exporting concentrate,” Chief Executive Officer Kalaa Mpinga said in an interview at the African Development Bank annual meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco today. “It will increase pressure on us to restart our smelter and refinery as soon as possible.”

Mwana’s Bindura site is the only integrated nickel mine, smelter and refinery operation in Africa, according to the London-based company’s website. The price of nickel for delivery in three months has dropped 13 percent to $14,840 a metric ton since the start of 2013 in London Metal Exchange trading.

“In the next three to four months, we will be able to make a decision,” said Mpinga. “It is one of our foremost priorities.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Andres R. Martinez in Johannesburg at amartinez28@bloomberg.net; Amogelang Mbatha in Johannesburg at ambatha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gordon Bell at gbell16@bloomberg.net