Globe applies for renewal of Kanyika licence
By Marcel Chimwala
ASX listed Globe Metals and Mining says it has submitted an application for renewal of its Kanyika exclusive prospecting licence (EPL) to the Department of Mines in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining.
Malawi’s cadastral portal indicates that Globe was awarded a 308 square kilometres EPL for Kanyika in Mzimba covering feldspathoids, uranium, niobium, rare earths elements, tantalum and zircon on May 21, 2015 and is pending renewal as it expires on May 20, 2018.
MD for Globe Metals and Mining, Neville Huxham, told Mining & Trade Review that Globe already submitted an application for renewal of the licence to the Malawi Government because it is determined to develop a mine at Kanyika.
We are definitely going ahead with the project and we already lodged our application with the Malawi Government,
Globe has undertaken prospecting work at Kanyika including a bankable feasibility study and a definitive study which involved the setting up of a metallurgical pilot plant at Guangzhou Research Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals (GZRINM) using a 40-tonne bulk sample that was shipped to China from Kanyika.
In February this year, Globe announced that it had commended work aimed at finalizing the technical components of the feasibility study in order to provide project funding initiatives in light of the changing outlook for the mining and resources industry generally, and in particular for niobium.
To facilitate this, the company has engaged specialists to revise and update the previous engineering study to incorporate the findings and outcomes of the pilot plant work undertaken and other necessary engineering design changes,
Globe’s Company Secretary Michael Fry said in the announcement.
Globe is, currently, engaged in negotiations with the Malawi Government for a development agreement for Kanyika, which are based on a draft development agreement which it submitted to government.
Huxham explained to Mining & Trade Review that Globe hopes that the Malawi Government will issue it with a mining licence when these negotiations are finalized.
He said currently market prospects for niobium and tantalum are promising, and the company is ready to enter into off-take agreements with buyers and financiers when negotiations for a development agreement are finalized.
Niobium (Nb) is a rare, soft, shiny, grey-white, ductile transition metal which is primarily found in the minerals pyrochlore (Nb>Ta), columbite (Nb>Ta) and tantalite (Ta>Nb).
Minerals containing niobium often also contain tantalum, an element that shares many chemical and physical characteristics with it.
Niobium is found in alkaline intrusive rocks, carbonatites, granites and pegmatites.
World reserves of niobium are estimated at 484Mt, and the largest reserves are located in Brazil and Canada.
Niobium is used with iron and other elements in stainless steel, high strength low alloy (HSLA) steels and other alloys.
Niobium alloys are strong and are often used in pipeline construction, superalloys for jet engines and turbines, and heat resistant equipment.
Tantalum (Ta) is a rare, hard, corrosion-resistant, blue-grey, lustrous transition metal which is primarily found in the mineral tantalite, and usually occurs along with niobium, an element which shares many chemical and physical characteristics with it.
Tantalum containing minerals are mostly found in pegmatite ore bodies. Tantalum-bearing tin slags (a by-product of tin smelting) are an additional source of tantalum.
World reserves of tantalum are estimated at 153,000 (2011): the largest reserves are located in Brazil (87,000t) and Australia (40,500t), followed by China and South East Asia (7,800t), Central Africa (3,200t) and other African regions (12,500t).
The largest producers are Brazil, Australia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Congo and Zimbabwe.
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 61 (May 2018).