Kanyika deposit valued at over $1 billion
By Wahard Betha
Africa-focused resources group Globe Metals and Mining, has pegged the value of its Kanyika deposit in the southern part of Mzimba at over a U$1-billion.
Globe finalized feasibility studies at Kanyika which is a multi-commodity deposit containing niobium, tantalum, uranium and zircon.
In his presentation made at the launch of Malawi Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (MWEITI) report for 2015/16, Globe’s Country Director, Chrispine Ngwena, says the project will have an annual production of 300 tons of Niobium and 220 tons of Tantalum.
He says currently Globe is busy finalizing the Development Agreement with the Malawi Government in order to move into mine construction stage.
In essence, this Development Agreement clarifies that mining activities will be carried out in terms of the Laws of Malawi
Ngwena describes Kanyika as one of Malawi’s major projects which will significantly benefit Malawi in various ways including raking in foreign exchange and providing employment opportunities to citizens.
Globe has so far conducted a number of activities at Kanyika including exploration targeting niobium and tantalum, a definite feasibility study, environmental and social impact assessment, and development of a resettlement action plan.
Ngwena says mine construction will take 18 months but will only commence when the development agreement and finances are acquired.
The project requires an investment of $350 million and will rake in gross revenue of $75 million per year over a mine life of over 20 years, employing about 1000 workers.
The Kanyika Niobium Project in Malawi will produce high purity niobium pentoxide and tantalum pentoxide powders which will be used as additives to steel to enable steel mills to produce high-margin products through enhanced flexibility, weight reduction and strength.
Even though more than 90% of niobium is used in steel, niobium consumption has been growing at twice that of steel for the last 20 years.
Market prospects for niobium were boosted in September 2017 when technology giant Toshiba announced that niobium-titanium used in lithium rechargeable batteries boosted the driving range of electric vehicles to 320km on 6-minute, ultra-rapid recharge.
The new anode material, titanium niobium oxide achieves double the capacity of the anode of current lithium-ion batteries.
The new battery also offers high energy density and ultra-rapid recharging characteristics, and its titanium niobium oxide anode is much less likely to experience lithium metal deposition during ultra-rapid recharging or recharging in cold conditions—a cause of battery degradation and internal short circuiting.
Meanwhile, Globe has renewed its EPL adjacent to the mining lease area for a further two years commencing May 22, 2018 to allow for further regional exploration work.
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 67 (November 2018). This monthly publication is edited by Marcel Chimwala.