Feasibility studies are sufficiently advanced for the tapping of nickel deposits in Burundi by 2017, the country’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Moïse Bucumi, said.
Nickel deposits in Burundi was first discovered in the 1970s and their tapping has been ongoing since then, although government has been undecided what to do with it.
Bucumi said this was the right time to finally begin the tapping of the largest nickel reserve located in Musongati, south of Burundi.
The reserve has an estimated 180 million tonnes of nickel deposits, much sought by the iron industry, on which the country relies for its socio-economic takeoff.
The quantity of other nickel deposits, such as those in Nyabikere and Muremera, in the eastern part of the country, are yet unknown.
The announcement follows the termination of a mining contract between the Burundian government and the Andover Resources Company, a subsidiary of the Australian-Canadian Argosy Group.
Dating back to 1999, the contract was terminated 14 June, 2007, by the Burundian state for the “non-compliance with the execution term.”
The South African Samancor company replaced Andover to operate in the impregnable Burundian nickel market.
According to Bucumi, the South African company is supposed to produce its own electric power to extract the ore