Globe Metals and Mining Limited, an Australian mining firm whose main mining activity is the Kanyika Niobium Project in Mzimba, says it has finalised the long-awaited development agreement, but says the agreement remains unsigned.
The multi-commodity Kanyika project, worth $500 million (about K300 billion), has over the past years been engaged in negotiations with government and in 2013 Globe Metals postponed the launch of the project due to the on-going negotiations then.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Ben Botolo on Tuesday confirmed the finalisation of the agreement, but said the two parties have not yet fully exhausted all avenues as there are still some procedures remaining before the pending of signatures.
But according to the company’s 2015 annual report released on Tuesday, the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) listed company has now finalised a development agreement whose negotiations have dragged for years.
“Globe has finalised a development agreement with the government, which currently remains unsigned,” says the company in the report signed by chairperson Alice Wong.
Reacting to the development, Botolo said signing the development agreement means that all procedures have been followed, including the need of for the agreement to pass through President Peter Mutharika.
“The old law [the Mines and Minerals Act of 1981] says all the mining activities are under the President while the revised law says they are in the hands of the State and there is need for us to follow these procedures,” said Botolo, adding that there is also need for more transparency on the deal by Globe and government.
According to Globe’s report, in June last year, government officials at Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mines held a meeting with the community and local chiefs to update them on the status of the project and reassure them of the company’s development plans for the project, including the formulation of a development agreement.
The company says consistent with the strategy outlined in 2014, the group has focused its efforts in the 2015 financial year on advancing its Kanyika Niobium Project towards production by progressing with its mining licence application while seeking out and assessing a range of financing options.
According to the company, the Kanyika Workplace Certificate was renewed by the Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development adding that the Relocation Action Plan is currently receiving attention at the Ministry of Labour.
“A review of the Environmental Impact Assessment will be undertaken at the completion of optimisation activities,” it says.
Giving an update on its exploration works, Globe says a soil sampling program of 185 samples was undertaken to delineate the potential for niobium and tantalum mineralisation south of the Kanyika deposit.
Globe Metals also has interests in three more sites of exploration in Malawi namely the Chiziro Graphite Project, Salambidwe Project in southern Malawi bordering Mozambique and Machinga rare earth north of Zomba in southern Malawi.