In January, we reported that the Board of Directors of Globe Metals & Mining would meet in February in Australia to discuss the future of Kanyika Niobium Project in Mzimba, Malawi. However, the decision to launch the project has been postponed because of the ongoing Mining Development Agreement negotiations with the Malawian government.
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. If the Board gives the go-ahead the Kanyika mine in Malawi is expected to start production of ferro-niobium by 2015, with an expected 20-year mine life.
According to a statement released by the company yesterday, the negotiations have been impacted by a recent organisational restructuring within the Malawian Ministry of Mines and Energy and were restarted this month. The statement reads that the negotiations are “on track to be completed in the forthcoming months”.
Nevertheless, the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) to be used by the Board to make a decision about the project is nearly complete. At present, the company is also working with Chinese niobium and tantalum producers to discuss opportunities for developing a joint venture to assist in optimising production processes for Kanyika once it is in production. It appears likely therefore that the Board will give the nod of approval for the project. Project financiers are also being consulted while Globe negotiates with the Malawian government.
Globe’s Acting CEO and Exploration Manager, Fergus Jockel, explained that
Globe’s immediate focus remains on completing the final DFS, and progressing its potential development plans at Kanyika. Despite the delay, the Company has achieved significant milestones with respect to the progress of the DFS.
Prior to the organisational restructure experienced within the Malawian Government, Globe was advancing as planned towards completion of the DA negotiations. The Board is confident that this remains on track, given the positive discussions held since mid-February.
As we progress towards completion of the final DFS, Globe is evaluating all aspects of the development and refining process to increase efficiencies and lower costs. The Board remains committed to meeting the expectations of all stakeholders, and will update shareholders as activity continues on a number of critical fronts
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).