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Globe Metals nails down 10-tonne sample for African niobium project

Updated: May 8

Globe Metals crushing Kanyika ore for shipment in Malawi. Credit: File

Globe Metals & Mining has ticked off a 10-tonne sample from its Kanyika niobium project as part of a plant feasibility study in Malawi.

Management says the sample will be used in the design of a pilot plant, a testwork program and commercial-grade offtake samples. The company recently became the first to sign a Mining Development Agreement with the Malawian Government for the advancement of its project and has wasted little time in achieving its first milestone.

Completion of the 10-tonne sampling program is an important and critical milestone for the company as Globe is transiting from an exploration to a mining company. We look forward to working with our technical partners in the design, construction, and operation of a bespoke pilot plant in support of the scoping study and feasibility study updates, and in particular we are excited about the production of commercial-grade samples that we can distribute to potential offtake partners for their technical assessment. Globe Metals & Mining chief executive officer Grant Hudson

In addition to producing niobium and tantalum oxides, Globe is investigating a second processing technology with a view to opening up to the lucrative ferro-niobium market.

A feasibility study completed by the company in 2021 outlined an impressive total EBITDA figure for a fully-developed operation of US$3.74 billion (AU$5.62 billion), across an initial mine life of 23 years.

Globe is aiming to produce high-purity niobium pentoxide and tantalum pentoxide powders from a JORC-compliant total resource of 68.3 million tonnes using a cut-off grade of 1500 parts per million niobium pentoxide.

The proposed mining and processing operation at Kanyika is expected to churn out about 11,300 tonnes of niobium and tantalum concentrate per annum on the back of newly unveiled proved and probable ore reserves of 33.8 million tonnes, grading an average 3048ppm niobium pentoxide and 141ppm tantalum pentoxide.

Niobium is a game changer for lithium-ion batteries with its ability to increase the life of the battery and decrease its charge time and fire risk.

Globe’s potential mine could be the world’s first of its kind in 50 years and would only be the fourth one operating, with two currently in Brazil and one in Canada.

With the company’s freshly-inked mining agreement in its back pocket and a 10-tonne sample ticked off, things look to be moving quickly as it manoeuvres to bring its valuable commodity to market.

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