The Malawi government has renewed by a further two years an exploration licence for the proposed Kanyika Niobium Mining project in Mzimba district, Nyasa Times has leant.
Niobium is a rare, soft and gray-white metal that is used for the production of high-temperature-resistant alloys and special stainless steels among other things and was discovered at Kanyika, Traditional Authority Mabilabo in Mzimba.
Globes Metals and Mining Limited Managing Director Mark Sumich confirmed the development in statement to NyasaTimes saying the exploration licence (EPL0188) will now expire on 29 December 2013, with a further two year option to renew.
The licence covers an area of approximately 607sq km.
The multicommodity Kanyika project would start production of ferro-niobium in 2014, a key additive in sophisticated steels
Sumich also said Globe is currently carrying out a definitive feasibility study (DFS) on the Kanyika Niobium Project, which is planned for completion in December 2012.
“The Company therefore expects to be able to submit an application for a mining licence for the Kanyika Niobium Project well before the expiry of the current exploration licence,” he said.
The Mine is expected to last at least 20 years and employ 300 to 500 locals when production commences.
“The number of people to be employed is currently estimated at 1000 -2000 persons during construction. The number of local versus expatriates will depend on the skills and expertise available in Malawi,” said a company official.