Globe restarts work in Africa as electric vehicles drive demand for niobium
Globe Metals & Mining has finally decided to finish off a feasibility study for its Kanyika niobium project in Malawi as the prospects for the commodity start to pick up.
Niobium is added to steel to enable steel mills to produce high-margin products through enhanced flexibility, weight reduction and strength.
However, while more than 90 per cent of niobium produced is used in steel, its ability to boost the driving range of electric vehicles is spurring on a substantial increase in demand.
Toshiba revealed in October last year that niobium-titanium used in lithium rechargeable batteries boosts the driving range of electric vehicles to 320km on 6-minute, ultra-rapid recharge.
According to the Japanese heavyweight, that is triple that possible with current lithium-ion batteries.
Since late 2015, Globe has been looking at opportunities outside the mining sector and was particularly interested in making its foray into the agricultural and food and beverage sectors.
Little work has been done on the Kanyika project since 2015, but with Toshiba’s recent announcement Globe has now decided it wants to be part of the electric vehicle battery industry.
While the company’s share price was down 10.5 per cent at 1.7c on Monday, it has recovered somewhat from the bottom of 1.2c it hit in late September last year.
It still has some way to go though before it is back at its 52-week high of 2.2c.
The company told investors it is now finalising the technical components of the feasibility study to support project funding initiatives.
The work is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter.
At the end of the December quarter, Globe had around $10.5 million worth of cash in the bank.
Shareholders of the junior ASX-listed explorer voted in late November last year for a meeting to spill the board after its remuneration report was voted down for a second year in a row.
However, all directors held onto their seats and no other nominees were put forward for election.
Globe was unavailable for comment.