Kanyika niobium project, Malawi – update

31st March 2023 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

Kanyika niobium project, Malawi – update

Photo by: Global Metals & Mining

Name of the Project
Kanyika niobium project.

Central Malawi.

Project Owner/s
Globe Metals & Mining.

Project Description
Kanyika is positioned to be the first niobium mine in Africa and the first new producer in 50 years.

The project will have a life-of-mine (LoM) of about 23 years, with the capability to extend this to 38 years, subject to the conversion of inferred resources through further drilling.

Mining will involve conventional openpit methods comprising drill-and-blast, followed by loading and hauling using 70 t shovels and 40 t off-road articulated haul trucks.

Mineral processing will involve comminution at 1.5-million tonnes a year. This will involve crushing, followed by semiautogenous grinding and ball milling in a closed circuit with Derrick screen classifiers. Concentration involves magnetic separation, flotation beneficiation and gravity separation to produce (niobium/tantalum) pyrochlore mineral concentrate.

The mine will produce about 260 000 t of niobium and tantalum concentrate over the LoM and on average about 11300 t/y.

Potential Job Creation
The project is expected to employ and train thousands of local staff over the LoM, and through envisaged community programmes.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of $1-billion and an internal rate of return of about 50%, with a payback of about 1.5 years from first production.

Capital Expenditure
Preproduction capital costs are estimated at $250-million.

Planned Start/End Date
The project will take 24 months to complete.

Latest Developments
The government of Malawi has approved the Mining Development Agreement (MDA) for the Kanyika niobium project – a significant milestone for the company – and with all other approvals in place, the company can accelerate its engagement with the local community to start relocation plans for those affected by the proposed mining process.

Moreover, the MDA carries broader implications for the electric vehicle industry, as it aims to facilitate the introduction of the fourth niobium mine in the world, the entry of the first such mine into production in the past 50 years, and the first in Africa.

The MDA will require Globe to make an investment decision within 24 months of being granted a mining licence for the project and obtaining a credit-approved term sheet from a third-party financier, with the company required to spend at least $200-million to develop the project, starting six months following a decision to mine.

The Malawi government will receive a 10% equity interest in the project, with the option to acquire a further 10% interest on completion of the construction, commissioning and startup of operations. Government will also receive a statutory royalty of 5% on all revenue earned from mining and processing of ore at the project, while the Kanyika community will receive a 0.45% royalty.

“The Kanyika niobium project has taken a major stride forward with the signing of the MDA and is now effectively ‘shovel ready’, with all environmental and land approvals already in place,” Globe CEO Grant Hudson has said.

Globe is now in a position to extract a 10 t sample from the project area for the crushing, grinding and floatation tests to produce a concentrate sample for the pilot plant and offtake samples. The company will also conduct a new feasibility study to support the capital cost estimate, operating cost summary and financial model on Globe’s Namibia plant as part of its downstream strategy, as well as conducting the revised feasibility study.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Wood, Orelogy Mine Consulting and Globe Metals & Mining (operating costs).

Contact Details for Project Information
Globe Metals & Mining, tel +61 6118 7240 or email info@globemm.com.