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
Pioneers for coltan production in Tanzania
----Interview with Shedrack Tony Rodrick Kombe
Managing Director
Mcharo-Kombe Mining Limited
Mcharo-Kombe Mining Limited (M-K Mining) is a private limited company incorporated in the United Republic of Tanzania in the year 2016. Our vision is to be one of the major mining companies in East and Central Africa through using sustainable, practical, intelligent and modern solutions in mining and beneficiation of the minerals while maximizing stakeholder’s value and interests.

Asian Metal: Hi Shedrack, thank you for taking part in this interview. Could you please give us a background about your company?

Shedrack: M-K Mining started off as a certified gold dealing company in 2016, over time the company saw the need and opportunity to expand into minerals extraction and beneficiation.The company now deals in the extraction of coltan, beryllium ore, beryls, lithium ore, gold and platinum group metals ore in the United Republic of Tanzania.

Asian Metal: Would you like to introduce some details about your tantalite production? For example, the storage of Ta and Nb in your minerals, the annual production capacity of tantalite and recent output, the purity of your materials and so on.

Shedrack:The annual production capacity of coltan would be 50t. The coltan we produce contains average 23% of Ta and 45% ofNb. We are yet to start concentrating the coltan produced at our mines.

Asian Metal: How many important elements are in your minerals? What about the percentage?

Shedrack: The extracted ore also contains tin(5%),tungsten(8%),silver(4%),copper(6%) and titanium(5%).Also on the same mine we are extracting beryls, beryllium ore, spodumene, petalite and mica.

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

Shedrack: Our goal is to increase production of coltan from the current 50tpy to 600tpy by 2022 and we will be able to achieve this goal by modernizing our extracting methods and equipments (mechanizing the process), setting up beneficiation plant for concentrating tantalite and eventually a refining setup to extract all the metals from the ores so as increase our profit margins and reinvestment. We are also looking into expanding our extraction capacity of other minerals available in the coltan mines (beryllium ore, beryls, lithium ore and mica) to commercial capacity and marketing in order to increase our profits and mitigate the expected price drop of tantalum due to influx of new low-cost tantalum supply as by-product from Australian lithium miners. We’ve also expanded into gold and platinum group metals mining (PGM mining is also a new subsector in the country).

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

Shedrack: Key advantages of M-K Mining Limited include
1: Emerging sector- Coltan and platinum group metals mining in Tanzania are new subsectors in the mining industry and we are among the first pioneers in both, this offers a great opportunity to our investors as there’s little competition in the country and also willingness by the government to sit down with us to chart country’s policies and vision of both industries in the country. The company holds mining rights and operates mines in areas with commercial deposits of coltan and also for gold and platinum group metals.
2: Experience- Our team is well experienced in the mining sector of the country and the region at large. Also Tanzania has been in the mining business for a long time, that we have local workers who are well experienced and knowledgeable in the all departments and subsectors of the mining industry.
3: Strategic location- Tanzania is the most peaceful and political stable country in the region and has been so for over fifty years, this allows us to plan and implement our future plans while being sure of security and stability of the country. Also our mines are 30 km (murram road) from the nearest town located in a highway which connects us to Mtwara port and Songea airport. As well as good and secure tarred roads to access all coltan producing countries when we set up a beneficiation plant.
4: Partnerships-We have cultivated business relationships with key stakeholders in the business across the region, as one of our goals is to expand in the region as well as to purchase raw materials from conflict free zones across the region once our beneficiation plant has been set up.
5: From a socio economic stand point, we take it upon ourselves to serve local economies, hiring local people, getting first-hand experience how to deal with bureaucracy, licensing, safety, logistic etc. We serve our clients bearing all the risks of performance in a risky environment yet very calculated from our side. Our minerals are and will always be conflict-free and direct from the source.
6: We are still a growing company which gives us the ability to be flexible and allows for quick decision making and precise implementation of our decision.
Our disadvantages are mainly three
1: Limited financial resources – M-K Mining has only been able to export small quantities of its products leading to little reinvestments.
2: Limited technical resources – As a small company, M-K Mining has not acquired the equipments and technology to mine and expertise to setup a beneficiation plant.
3: Limited market access - Mostly due to inability to add value to the minerals produced and poor access to genuine and reliable markets.

Asian Metal: What about the current investment environment in Tanzania?

Shedrack: The government is improving and working to improve the investment environment in general and mining and mineral processing in particular by working with the stakeholders in the sector. Just recently the president and some members of the cabinet met with the miners to discuss on the way forward for the industry and how to counter the problems we face.

Asian Metal: Could you introduce something about the total tantalum and niobium producing situation in Tanzania?

Shedrack: Tantalum and niobium mining in Tanzania is still in its infancy stage and we are among the pioneers of the industry. Production is still low but it’s set to rise fast due to prices being good for local miners (as of Dec 2018, price of tantalite 30%min was at around USD80/lbTa2O5 globally) and global demand for both tantalum and niobium is set to increase due to new rising interest in the space industry, increase in demand of electric cars and ever growing demand of electronic equipments. With an ever growing desire for conflict-free minerals by the final consumers, Tanzania is set to be one of the sought after suppliers of those conflict-free minerals with low operational costs.

Asian Metal: Which kinds of licenses do you have for tantalite production? Is there any special or new policy on exporting from Tanzania government in 2019?

Shedrack: Mcharo-Kombe Mining Limited has a mining license and primary mining licenses of 4.4 square kilometers in total for tantalite and columbite, and still has ability to expand further. There are no new laws per se but the government has made itself more accessible to the stakeholders and more willing to listen and act on the agreements and policies agreed with the miners, also corruption has been greatly reduced with the current administration. It still also encourages the setting up of beneficiation plants of the minerals in the country with a lot of incentives.

Asian Metal: Would you like to find more partners in the future? What kind of requirements do they need to become your partners?

Shedrack: Yes, we are very much looking for business partners. M-K Mining would like to welcome investors or development partners who will be interested in the extraction and ore beneficiation of the following minerals: tantalite, columbite, bertrandite, beryls, spodumene, petalite, mica, gold and platinum group metals
To this effect, M-K Mining is looking for interested parties who:
1:Demonstrate financial capacity and willingness to invest in the extraction and beneficiation technology
2: Willing to engage at development phase and help structure and setup local operations 
3: Can facilitate market access

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

Shedrack: Thank you very much for both the interview and good wishes.