7th World Antimony Forum

June 13-14, 2019
Changsha, Hunan, China

7th Refractory & Abrasive Materials Summit 2019

May 23-24, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

10th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 16-17, 2019
Zhengzhou, Henan, China

11th Rare Earth Summit

May 9-10, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

8th Magnesium Summit

April 11-12, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

12th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 14-15, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

6th World Manganese & Selenium Forum

May 21-22, 2018
Hainan Sanya, China

6th World Antimony Forum

April 23-24, 2018
Zhangjiajie, China

6th International Refractories & Abrasives Summit

April 19-20, 2018
Beijing, China
ARC: To become the New Tantalum and Niobium Supplier in Kenya
----Interview with Michael Lando
Executive Director
Africa Resource Consultancy Limited
Africa Resource Consultancy Limited (ARC) is a private limited company incorporated in Kenya under the Kenyan Companies Act on 18th December 2013. Through ARC’s Minerals & Mining division, the company’s main goal is to offer practical, intelligent and dynamic solutions to accelerate the growth of East Africa’s largely untapped mining sector. ARC’s strategies and credentials have helped the company develop partnerships and relationships with various private and public mining stakeholders both regionally and internationally.

Asian Metal: Hi Mr Michael Lando, Thank you for taking part in this interview. Could you please give us a background on your company?

M: We are a private limited company incorporated in Kenya. Our purpose is to be the leading innovator for East Africa’s burgeoning mining sector and develop and deliver premium value in East Africa’s mining sector. Our mission statement is to sustainably acquire, structure, finance, develop and operate mining projects and resources while maximizing stakeholder’s value and interests. Under ARC's Minerals & Mining Division, the following business activities are undertaken:
a) Local and regional mining operations
b) Local and regional sourcing/ procurement of minerals
c) Import and export of minerals

Asian Metal: What do you act in the tantalum and niobium market now? Have you already made deals successfully with downstream buyers in the world?

M: ARC currently primarily only trades in the tantalum and niobium market. ARC has secured a regular supply of columbite-tantalite originating from the DRC through reputable and reliable companies based and registered in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These companies are fully licensed and have been in the mineral export business with ARC for several years. ARC operates under the iTSCi and ICGLR mineral tracking and certification schemes which are traceability, tracking and due diligence programmes that also allow risk management of the supply chain from mine to smelter. Mr. Christophe Mbula (Photo 1 - currently leading candidate in December 2018 elections for MP in Masisi Province, DRC) is one of ARC’s key trading contacts. Through its partners, ARC has successfully transacted.

Asian Metal: How about your future plan about the mining?

M: ARC plans to venture into local value addition and beneficiation of minerals. Several sites with tantalum, niobium and gold commercial potential have been identified in Kenya and ARC is in the process of securing the prerequisite licenses to commercially exploit these metals. The Company currently seeks strategic investors to jointly secure prerequisite licenses and approvals to develop mining sites and mine and process these metals for export.

Asian Metal: What is the advantage and disadvantage of your company to expand the tantalum- niobium business?

M: Key advantages of ARC include:
1)Experience – The Company has acquired a wealth of experience trading in coltan.
2) Contacts – Over the years, contacts with key industry stakeholders have been established.
3) Licenses – The Company operates with partners that are fully licensed in the DRC and work under the iTSCi and ICGLR mineral tracking and certification schemes.
4) Emerging sector – The mining sector especially in Kenya is emerging. This represents a huge opportunity for “early bird” investors. ARC has identified sites in Kenya with commercial deposits of tantalite, niobium, gold, silver and rare earths.
5) Partnerships – ARC has created partnerships with various key sector stakeholders.
Key disadvantages of ARC include:
1) Limited financial resources – ARC currently only exports small quantities of raw materials.
2) Limited technical resources – As a small company, ARC has not acquired the internal expertise to setup a fully fledged value addition plant.
3) Limited market access - Mostly a result of the inability to provide value addition.

Asian Metal: What do you think about the applications for tantalum and niobium? How about the downstream demand from buyers?

M: Niobium is used either in its pure form or in the form of high-purity ferroniobium and nickel niobium, are used in nickel-, cobalt-, and iron-based superalloys for such applications as jet engine components, gas turbines, rocket subassemblies, turbo charger systems, and heat resisting and combustion equipment. About half of the tantalum consumed each year is used in the electronics industry, mainly as powder and wire for capacitors, owing to tantalum’s particular ability to store and release electrical energy. This allows components to be exceptionally small. They are therefore favored in space-sensitive, high-end applications in telecommunications, data storage and implantable medical devices. Tantalum is also used for electronic sound filters and as a barrier against copper diffusion in semi-conductors. Tantalum carbide’s hardness makes it ideal for cutting tools. Tantalum is highly biocompatible. Its low mechanical strength means it is generally used as a coating on stronger substrates, such as stainless steel. Therefore, the wide application that both metals have in key manufacturing sectors covering; space, airline, electronics and telecommunications industries will be key demand drivers in the foreseeable future. Growth in these sectors shall be sustained owing to the increasing demand for various engine components and electronic or telecommunication gadgets that rely on niobium or tantalum components. This means the market price of these metals will be sustained and increase in the coming years.

Asian Metal: Could you introduce something about the total tantalum and niobium market in Africa, especially in Kenya?

M: The mineral resources sub-sector in Kenya is under developed, resulting in the rate of economic growth not being in tandem with rate of growth of the manufacturing sector. Mining and minerals currently contribute less than one per cent to GDP, but this is expected to increase with the exploitation of newly found reserves of oil, coal, natural gas and other minerals. Mining and mineral resources have the potential to significantly increase Kenya’s economic growth, which has implications for a low carbon climate resilient pathway. Kenya currently does not produce any tantalite or niobium. However, geological studies confirm that Kenya has some of the world’s largest niobium deposits in the coastal area and significant tantalite deposits in the western part of the country.

Asian Metal: Do you have licenses for tantalite production?

M: In Kenya, ARC is in the process of securing a license to mine and process tantalite. We therefore invite investors to come on board to facilitate the process. In the DRC, ARC works with companies that are fully licensed to mine, trade and export niobium and tantalite.

Asian Metal: As it may take some time and money to develop a new tantalum and niobium project, do you like to find more partners in the future? What kind of requirements do they need to become the partners?

M: ARC intends to begin tantalite and niobium mining operations in Kenya. To this effect, various potential sites in western and coastal Kenya have been discovered. These sites have significant and commercially viable deposits of tantalite and niobium. Preliminary geological surveys have been performed on the referred sites and the results are promising. ARC is therefore in the process of identifying potential investors to collaborate with to establish mining operations at these sites. ARC proposes to acquire mineral ore beneficiation plant and equipment for purposes local value addition through various processes including; ore separation, ore concentration and eventual metal production. The beneficiation technology or technologies shall be contingent on the type of mineral or minerals being processed. ARC is very keen to identify partners and investors to mine and process the following: Tantalite, Niobium, Construction and industrial minerals.
To this effect, ARC is looking for investors who:
1) Demonstrate financial capacity
2) Demonstrate technical capacity
3) Willing to engage at development phase and help structure and setup local operations
4) Can facilitate market access

Asian Metal: Thank you for granting us this interview. We wish a better future for your company.