Kanyika Niobium Project

Niobium is added to steel to enable steel mills to produce high-margin products through enhanced flexibility, weight reduction and strength. Even though more than 90% of niobium is used in steel, niobium consumption has been growing at twice that of steel for the last 20 years.

In September 2017 Toshiba annouced that niobium-titanium used in lithiun rechargeable batteries boosted the driving range of electric vehicles to 320km on 6-minute, ultra-rapid recharge. This is triple that possible with current lithium-ion batteries. The new anode material, titanium niobium oxide achieves double the capacity of the anode of current lithium-ion batteries.

The new battery also offers high energy density and ultra-rapid recharging characteristics, and its titanium niobium oxide anode is much less likely to experience lithium metal deposition during ultra-rapid recharging or recharging in cold conditions—a cause of battery degradation and internal short circuiting.

The Kanyika Niobium Project in Malawi will produce high purity niobium pentoxide and tantalum pentoxide powders.

In 2013 the Board approved a demonstration plant to further optimise process design and reduce project risk. The focus of the pilot plant is to validate bench‐scale testing results obtained during the optimisation phase of the Kanyika Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), and also to validate engineering data for plant design.

The mineral concentrate produced from this pilot plant exercise will be used for further downstream metallurgical testing and production of marketing samples. Pilot plant testing was completed in 2015.

The Government of Malawi (GoM) has stated that the DA negotiations are continuing in good faith.  Development Agreement negotiations were undertaken in May 2014 and are still continuing. 


Mineral Resource Estimate for Kanyika (1,500 ppm Nb2O5 lower cut)

Category         Million tonne Nb2O5 ppm  Ta2O5 ppm  
Measured    5.3 3,790 180
Indicated    47.0 2,860 135
Inferred    16.0 2,430 120
Total 68.3 2,830 135


Rock Chip and Soil Location Map June 2014
Oblique view of Kanyika mineralisation incorporating the high-grade mineralised zones. 29 June 2010
Plan view of Kanyika drilling. 2007 - 2009
Cross section through 6597050mN, Milenje North. 13 Jan 2009
RC drilling at Kanyika. 2007
Laying out samples at Kanyika. 2008
Laying out samples at Kanyika. 2008
Kanyika Niobium Project. Dec 2011
Logging and sampling of RC chips. 2009
Logging RC chips. 2009
Kanika Vegetable Patch
Boart Longyear conducts drilling at Kanyika.2009
Grading the Kanyika Chataloma Road
Kanyika Drilling Crew
Sunset at Kanyika. Feb 2012
Upgraded camp accommodation at Kanyika. Dec 2011
Baraka our Kanyika camp chef. Feb 2012
Local transport at Kanyika. Feb 2012
Pump testing in progress
RC drilling at Kanyika
Diesel tank at Kanyika Camp. Feb 2012
Dries Kruger, General Manager Africa with Kanyika team members. Feb 2012
Community Meeting at Kanyika. Feb 2012
Community Meeting at Kanyika. Feb 2012
University students visit Kanyika.
Kanyika Niobium Project. Dec 2011