In February 2013, the Board of Directors of Globe Metals & Mining will meet in Australia to discuss the future of Kanyika Niobium Project in Mzimba, Malawi. The Australian company, with Chinese investors, has been exploring the site and the Environmental Impact Assessment was approved by Malawi’s Environmental Affairs Department late last year. The Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) being conducted by the company in Mzimba will be used by the Board that is expected to give the go-ahead early this year.
Globe Metals & Mining also has interests in three more sites of exploration in Malawi (Chiziro Graphite Project in Lilongwe, Salambidwe REE Project in southern Malawi bordering Mozambique and Machinga REE Project north of Zomba in southern Malawi) as well as in Mozambique (Mount Muambe REE – Fluorite Project Tete Province, and Memba Titanium – Iron Project in Nampula Province).
The Kanyika mine in Malawi is expected to start production of ferro-niobium by 2015. Niobium can be added to steel, although, in the last 20 years, consumption of niobium has grown twice as much as steel. Kanyika is likely to meet 3 to 4% of the market demand for niobium, tantalum and uranium are by-products of this mining project.
The company that may extract niobium in Malawi has plans to set up a refinery plant for niobium and tantalum in southern and eastern Africa. At the 2012 Annual General Meeting, the Chairman, Yi Shao, explained the current situation and way forward for the company in terms of its investment in Malawi,
Globe continued its focus on the flagship Kanyika Niobium Project, with key objectives including completion of the DFS and Decision to Mine. Globe has completed a highly active exploration program in 2012 with encouraging results to date. This is evidenced by the results from the 15,000m in-fill drilling program recently received from Kanyika, and the progress made on key aspects of mining studies and plant-site infrastructure, refinery test work, and metallurgy. Recently, further discussions were held with the Malawian Government regarding the Development Agreement submitted earlier this year, and the Board remains confident that final authorization will be received in the near future.
Shao also reiterated the company’s commitment to communities. In Malawi, over 700 people are expected to be relocated who will lose 500 hectares of cropland,
I am also pleased to re-iterate Globe’s commitment to fostering relations with the local communities in Malawi and Mozambique. Globe remains steadfast in advancing the Company’s relationships with local communities and will continue to have a meaningful community engagement program in the year ahead.
If authorisation is given by the Board for Kanyika Niobium Project, it is likely to be one of the largest stories in Malawi’s mining sector this year.