Nickel and cobalt explorer Jervois Mining (ASX: JRV) has officially met with Tanzania’s new Minister for Minerals the Honourable Doto Biteko regarding the prospective Kabanga project.
The Tanzanian minister went public with the meeting last week, with Jervois anticipating the government’s publicity bodes well for the company in its efforts to secure the project.
Speaking with Small Caps, Jervois chief executive officer Bryce Crocker said although discussions with the Tanzanian Government were confidential, the company was “pleased” with the ongoing engagement with the minister and his staff regarding the prospecting licence application for Kabanga.
“We are confident that Jervois represents the strongest and most capable candidate to take Kabanga forward into development on behalf of Tanzania,” Mr Crocker said.
A Tanzanian publication released images of the meeting and quoted Minister Biteko as saying “we want an interested investor to show the commitment to invest after all the procedures are completed, and then start immediately.”
Kabanga nickel-cobalt project
In August last year, Jervois reported it had submitted an exploration permit application for Kabanga, which was previously under the charge of Glencore and Barrick Gold.
The mining majors had spent more than US$250 million on exploration and predevelopment at Kabanga before plunging nickel prices caused the project to be mothballed.
Kabanga came up for grabs after the Tanzanian Government cancelled 11 retention licences in early 2018. Kabanga was among those licences cancelled and is believed to be one of the world’s most attractive undeveloped nickel sulphide deposits.
Experience offers leverage
Jervois expects its current leadership team has the necessary experience required to lock-in the Kabanga prospecting licence.
Mr Crocker used to sit on the Kabanga shareholder advisory committee during his time with Xstrata, while chairman Peter Johnston had executive oversight of the project during his role as Glencore’s nickel boss.
Both directors have personal knowledge of Kabanga and are believed capable of advancing the project on Jervois’ behalf.
Building a portfolio
Earlier this year, Jervois announced friendly merger plans with TSXV-listed M2 Cobalt.
The merger will give Jervois a “transformational” foothold in Uganda via the Kilembe project, which hosts historic operations and covers 710 square kilometres.
Kilembe was operated for more than 20 years and produced more than 16 million tonnes of ore grading 1.98% copper and 0.17% cobalt.