Globe Metals and Mining, the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)-listed miner will submit a comprehensive environment impact and social assessment study (EISA) on the Kanyika Niobium Project in Mzimba to the Malawi government in the first quarter (January Ã¢â‚¬â€œ March) of 2012.
In a second shareholder newsletter for 2011 posted on ASX on Wednesday, the company said that all aspects of the feasibility studies at the project are now in full swing.
“The EISA is progressing well and positive negotiations with local authorities regarding the site resettlement are underway,” said the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s managing director Mark Sumich.
He reported that the miner is working closely with the District Commissioner (DC) and Traditional Authorities (TAs) to ensure the interests of all the parties involved are protected.
The feasibility studies are in anticipation of full-scale mining at the multi-commodity project whose production of ferro-niobium, a key additive in sophisticated steels, will start in 2014.
Globe is an African-focused resource company, specialising in rare earths such as niobium, tantalum and rare earths, as well as other commodities including fluorite, uranium and zircon.
Sumich observed that during the year, the company has significantly progressed well at mine and that the definitive feasibility study is in the advanced stages.
The company also has a number of other projects at an earlier stage of development. It has 80 percent interest in the Machinga Rare Earth Project in southern Malawi and up to a 90 percent interest in the Mount Muambe REE – Fluorite Project in Mozambique.
In the newsletter, Sumich said 2011 has been a challenging year for the mining sector globally.
He said having spoken to a lot of people in Hong Kong and Singapore, their discussions focused on Eurozone debt contagion fears and lingering uncertainty in the United States.
Another recurring theme was the Australian minerals resource rent tax, which while not applicable to African Projects, has dampened the overall market sentiment, he said.
“While our share price continues to feel the impact of these factors, I believe Globe is well positioned to continue to meet the challenges ahead and have no doubt our exploration and acquisition strategy will continue to drive shareholder value throughout 2012 and beyond,” he noted.
The company, according to Sumich will end the year in a robust financial state maintain a strong cash-rich position and being debt free.
Earlier, the miner said it has set aside resources towards the development of an optimum processing process and currently has four programmes under way to ensure the best strategy is selected.
The company is also undertaking a bulk ore sampling programme at Kanyika, with the samples sent to laboratories in South Africa, Australia and China.
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 with a 51 percent shareholding, and a key partner for companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s growth ambitions in Africa and has since invested $48 million (K8 billion).
The miner has retained Mota-Engil, a multinational engineering company, to conduct a feasibility study on generating power for GlobeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Kanyika niobium project in Mzimba.
A feasibility study at the mine was commissioned in August 2009 and production is planned to commence at the rate of 3 000 tonnes per annum niobium metal, principally in the form of ferro-niobium.