Australia's Albidon Ltd announced on Thursday its Chairman Richard Potts will step down and hand over to a new chairman as the company starts production at its Zambian nickel project.

Albidon, also listed in London , owns the Munali underground nickel mine through its subsidiary, Albidon Zambia Ltd., and expects to produce 10,500 tonnes of nickel metal per year from 2010.

Ore production at the mine has already commenced.

It is now time for me to stand down and hand over to a new Chairman who will lead Albidon through the next phase of its growth and development, chairman Richard A. Potts said in a statement.

John Shaw, who joined the board in March, takes over as non-executive chairman.

Potts said the company had appointed Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) as its advisor to assist in the strategic review of the company's growth options.

As part of this process, confidential discussions have been held with a number of parties, he said, but he did not provide further details.

The miner has projects in Botswana, Tunisia, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi together with joint venture partners. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; editing by Peter Blackburn)

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