Africa-focused Globe Metals and Mining is on target for the completion of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) by the end of 2012, the companyâ€™s chief executive officer Mark Sumich has said.
The company is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), and its main focus is the multi-commodity Kanyika Niobium Project in Mzimba, Malawi.
Mining production of ferroniobium, a key additive in sophisticated steels, is expected to commence in 2015. The company is specialised in rare metals such as niobium, tantalum fluorite, uranium and zircon.
Once operational, the mining project is expected to rake in $170 million (K28.3 billion, at the current official exchange rate) per year, according to the company and create jobs for a number of Malawians.
In an investor update this week, Sumich said their team has made significant progress over the last year and that it is bearing fruit.
“We remain on target for completion of the DFS by the end of 2012, and ferro-niobium production in 2015. Importantly, our partnership with ECE will now become increasingly relevant, as we move into the real project development phase, and seek to engage with Chinese financiers, partners and customers, with China of course being the key growth market for steel products, and valuable additives such as ferro-niobium,” he explained.
In April 2011, Globe entered into a strategic partnership with East China Minerals Exploration and Development Bureau (ECE), a Chinese state-owned enterprise with extensive mining operations in China and overseas. ECE is now the largest shareholder in Globe at 51 percent, and a key partner for Globeâ€™s growth ambitions in Africa.
The companyâ€™s partnership with ECE provided it with immediate capital injection for the Mzimba project.
In January this year, the Malawi Government gave Globe a two-year exploration licence extension for its Kanyika project up to December 29, 2013, with a further two-year option to renew.
The licence permits exploration activities across an area of about 607 square kilometres.
Other projects at an earlier stage of development for the mining firm are Machinga rare earth project in southern Malawi that Globe was earning up to an 80 percent interest in, and the Mount Muambe rare earth element fluorite project in Mozambique, in which the Globe could earn up to a 90 percent interest.
Initial drill programmes on both projects were undertaken in 2010.
Early this month, Globe announced that it had intercepted high grade rare earth elements at its Mount Muambe project in Mozambique.
In a statement, the company said the high grade resources are estimated at 1.6 metric tonnes containing 310 000 tonnes of fluorite.