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By Shapi Shacinda

LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia’s sole nickel mine is stockpiling nickel and cobalt concentrate to export to China before the end of the year, the mine’s owners said on Friday.

Australia’s Albidon Ltd., which owns the Munali Nickel Mine in southern Zambia, said the mine, which started underground ore production in January, has so far stockpiled 134,662 tonnes of ore.

“A stockpile of nickel-copper-cobalt-PGM concentrate is being built for ex-works sale to the Jinchuan Group (of China),” said Albidon in a statement.

The board had approved existing plans to raise production of the Munali concentrator to 1.2 million tonnes per year from 900,000 in a bid to produce a targeted 10,000 tonnes of nickel per year.

“The focus at Munali is now to … increase production to full capacity in early 2009”, it said.

Albidon has also said it plans to produce 1,400 tonnes of copper, 400 tonnes of cobalt and 15,000 ounces of platinum group metals (PGM) per year at the mine.

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