Nkomati (South Africa)

Nkomati is a joint venture between Nornickel (50% interest) and African Rainbow Minerals. Nkomati’s performance is reflected in Nornickel’s financial results using proportional consolidation, based on our stake. The operations of the mine are planned to cease in 1H2021 whereafter the mine is to be placed on limited care and maintenance pending the finalisation and submission of a closure plan.

Nkomati is located in the Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, 300 km east of Johannesburg. It is South Africa’s only producer of nickel concentrate, which also contains copper, cobalt and PGMs. Nkomati produces chrome concentrate as well.


The Nkomati deposit has a substantial resource base represented by disseminated copper-nickel sulphide ores. The deposit consists of several ore bodies. The major ones are a solid sulphide ore body with a high nickel content and a peridotite chromite mineralisation zone with a relatively lower nickel content and a relatively higher chrome content.

In 2020, total ore mined by Nkomati reached 2.7 mln t (attributable to the Group’s 50% shareholding) with an average nickel content of 0.27% and copper content of 0.11%.

Concentration and smelting

The mined ore is processed at the concentrators using the sulphide flotation technology, with the resulting concentrates then sold by Nornickel to third parties.

In 2020, Nkomati (50% owned by the Group) produced 6 kt of nickel, 3 kt of copper, 30 koz of palladium and 13 koz of platinum. The metals output decline in the reporting period was due to the planned placement of the mine in care and maintenance and the completion of reserve mining.

Production volumesVolumes based on the 50% ownership.
Copper (in concentrate), t 2018 2019 2020
Nickel, kt 6.6 6.5 5.8
Copper, kt 3.1 3.4 2.9
Palladium, koz 33 33 30
Platinum, koz 13 14 13
NKOMATI (SOUTH AFRICA) as of 31 December 2020The Company owns 50% of Nkomati. Nkomati's mineral reserves and resources are not included Group’s total amounts. Ore kt Metal grade Contained metal
Ni % Cu % Co % 4 PGM g/t Ni kt Cu kt Co kt 4 elements koz
Proven and probable reserves 980 0.29 0.11 0.02 0.90 3 1 0.2 27
Measured and indicated resources 168,490 0.35 0.14 0.02 0.94 590 227 29 4,926
Inferred resources 46,350 0.41 0.13 0.02 1.00 188 62 8 1,438