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Globe Metals puts 12-tonne bulk sample on road to testwork

Updated: May 8


Globe Metals & Mining are aiming to have just the fourth operating niobium mine around the world. Credit: File

Globe Metals & Mining has launched into its next stage of processing and testwork after extracting a 12-tonne bulk sample from its Kanyika niobium project in Malawi and trucking it to Johannesburg.


Management says it has also selected six separate vendors to undertake key operational tasks as the project reaches its next stage of development. The sample was unearthed from a surface outcropping located at the point of the phase-one pit shell, in accordance with the company’s definitive feasibility study (DFS), where mining is planned to start.


The sample ore was then taken to a plant in the Malawian capital of Lilongwe, where it was crushed to about 40mm before being transported to South Africa. Once it reaches Johannesburg, it will again be crushed, but this time to only about 1mm, before being split in half.


The first half will be sent for gravimetric testing to work out how much gangue – the commercially-valueless material in which ore is found – can be discarded. The remainder will be milled, deslimed and have its magnetics removed before a flotation process is done to produce a concentrate that will then be air-dried and then sent for chlorination testing.


Globe has also finalised its vendors for the design and construction of its mineral processing plant and refinery at the project. The ultimate refinery design will be determined by the results of the current testwork, with the final scope to play particularly close attention to the discard rate of gangue from the proposed gravity spiral plant. Management says that will determine the operating parameters of each step in the refinery process and achieve target quality.


The company has targeted the last quarter of the year to complete all of its design work before a revised feasibility study is released in the first three months of next year. A feasibility study completed by the company in 2021 outlined an impressive 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 a 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. The company is so far ticking all of its boxes as it charges towards production.




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