Friday, September 04, 2009

(NYASATIMES) Thuthuka Group to acquire 26% stake in Malawi niobium project

Thuthuka Group to acquire 26% stake in Malawi niobium project
By Nyasa Times
Published: September 4, 2009

South African engineering company Thuthuka Group has entered into a $10,6-million joint venture (JV) agreement with Globe Metals & Mining to potentially earn a 25% interest in the Kanyika project, in Malawi. The investment makes it possible to immediately initiate a bankable feasibility study for the project.

According to the agreement, Thuthuka will be responsible for the metallurgy and process design, mining, social- and environmental- impact study, key enabling infrastructure, procurement management, the power plant study and design, and the transport logistics study.

The bankable feasibility study will fast-track the development of the project, which Globe will use to honour a supply agreement.

According to the agreement, Globe will supply 1 000 t/y of niobium to an international client once the project reaches first production, which, the company reports, is expected in 2012. Globe executive director exploration Dr Julian Stephens reports that the 1 000 t of ferroniobium equates to about 700 t of niobium metal, which represents about 23% of Globe’s planned yearly production of 3 000 t from Kanyika.

“The new memorandum of understanding (MoU) increases the proportion of annual production that is subject to a customer supply MoU to 35%,” says Stephens. He adds that the company expects to make further supply arrangements as it progresses the development of the project.

Stephens reports that there is strong community involvement in the project.

“The local community is closely involved in the development of the project. Regular community meetings are held on site to inform all local stakeholders of the project’s progress and potential impacts.

“The company employs up to 44 local people in various capacities during its drilling campaigns. If the project is successfully commissioned, between 300 and 500 people will be employed during operation, and up to 2 000 during the construction phase.”—Creamer Media

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