Globe Metals & Mining has announced that its 40-tonne bulk sample from the Kanyika Niobium Project in Mzimba, northern Malawi, has arrived in China for the metallurgical pilot plant programme.
The Chinese Customs Authority has cleared the sample that has now arrived at the Guangzhou Research Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals (GZRINM). The delay was due to Chinese New Year holidays and sample examinations. The pilot plant testing is expected to be completed by the end of June 2014, and the full final report will be submitted by the institute in the third quarter of 2014.
The metallurgical pilot plant programme will begin following
Initial confirmatory assays will be undertaken on the bulk sample selected from various domains of mineralisation. A series of bench-scale verification tests will also be undertaken on various samples to confirm plant requirements and conditions prior to the commencement of the pilot plant.
The bench‐scale testing results obtained during the optimisation phase of the Kanyika Definitive Feasibility Study will be validated by the pilot plant. Optimisation work conducted in 2013 by GZRINM shows improved metallurgical results resulting in a increase in recovery.
Globe Metals & Mining’s Kanyika Niobium Project will produce niobium and tantalum products, which are key additives in steels and electronics. According to the company, the Mineral Resource statement substantiates that Kanyika could support a 20 year mine life.
The company applied to extend its Exclusive Prospecting Licence [Kanyika EPL0188] until the end of 2014 while the Government of Malawi and Globe continue to negotiate the Mining Development Agreement. The International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) is supporting the government in these negotiations and sent lawyers earlier this year for a short visit.
ISLP’s support is expected to ensure a fair agreement is reached. Malawi’s largest mining venture, Paladin’s Kayelekera Uranium Project, which has recently been suspended, has been controversial due to what was deemed a poorly negotiated agreement between the government and Paladin, an Australian listed company.
Government has also come under pressure to update mining legislation. ActionAid Malawi and Citizens for Justice through their project Responsive Mining Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development of Malawi have called on government to update mining legislation so that revenue is transparently collected and used. This may be abetted by the recently adopted Access to Information Policy, which is hoped to spur on the passing of an Access to Information Act.
The call to amend legislation has been echoed by Malawi Congress Party presidential running mate Richard Msowoya, Malawi Council of Churches General Secretary Rev Dr Osborne Mbewe and Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy Programme Officer Cynthia Simkonda.
In response, Public Relations Manager, Levy Undi, at the Ministry of Mining indicated that legislation is being reviewed at present “to be in line with best practices in the region”.