Niobium: Globe Metals & Mining reports progress at Kanyika

News Analysis




Niobium: Globe Metals & Mining reports progress at Kanyika

Globe reported that it is closer to the finalisation of its mining development agreement with the Malawi Ministry of Mining

Globe Metals & Mining has received communication advising that the negotiations and attendant review of the draft Kanyika Niobium Project mining development agreement have been completed.  However, the company cautioned that the process is not yet complete and that approval and signing are subject to the Ministers of Mining and Finance's discretion.  The update suggests some progress at a project that had faced headwinds.  Last year, it was reported that Globe and the government of Malawi were defending (in the High Court of Malawi) an action by the local community who allege that mining has commenced and claimed the defence has breached their constitutional rights by preventing rights to land and lifestyle and a claim for compensation, damages, and resettlement.

The Kanyika project is located in central Malawi, approximately 55km northeast of the regional centre of Kasungu. The mine will be an open pit and have a life span of roughly 23 years with the capability to increase to 38 years subject to conversion of inferred resources through further drilling. The mine will produce 1.5Mtpy of ore to feed a process plant where ore will be crushed and then ground for treatment to recover niobium- and tantalum-bearing pyrochlore. Through a series of simple magnetic separation and flotation stages, a pyrochlore mineral concentrate will be produced grading about 40% niobium and 1% tantalum. The estimated average annual production is for 3,250tpy of niobium and 120tpy of tantalum for a CAPEX of US$215M.

Kanyika is one of 12 key niobium projects that Project Blue is tracking.  The recent completion of CBMM’s Araxá expansion means that the market will not require new producers over the medium term. However, it is possible that one, or perhaps even two projects enter production over the next decade as the market grows, although given how long it takes to commission and ramp up a mine, these would not add much capacity to the market in the 2020s.