Optimisation study yields strong support for Globe’s Malawi niobium project

6th February 2024 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

Australia-listed Globe Metals and Mining has achieved significantly improved economic and environmental outcomes from its Kanyika niobium project, in Malawi, through an optimisation study that provides strong support to advance the project towards financing and development.

The optimisation study determines that Kanyika, which has the potential to become the first new globally significant niobium mine in 50 years, has a pretax net present value (NPV) exceeding $1-billion and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 47.08%.

The NPV and IRR are on par with the results of the 2021 definitive feasibility study.

However, the optimisation study reduced the unit cost of niobium pentoxide and also lowered the upfront capital by introducing a two-phase development approach.

The initial phase will require $29-million to develop a 86 000 t/y run-of-mine operation, producing 1 760 t/y of concentrate for shipment to a planned refinery in Lilongwe.

Phase 2 will be a 1.5-million-tonne-a-year development, producing 17 700 t/y of concentrate. The Phase 2 refinery will also be built in Malawi.

The project’s average nameplate production capacity will be 3 267 t/y of niobium pentoxide and 136 t/y of tantalum pentoxide over the 27-year life.

“The extremely positive results of the Optimisation Study reflect the continuing upward trajectory of this exciting venture, and as the use of niobium soars, Globe is in the invidious position of being the most advanced new niobium producer in the world,” Globe CEO Grant Hudson says.