HARARE, October 9 (The Source) – Australian-listed junior miner Prospect Resources is considering developing a lithium chemical plant at its Arcadia Lithium project in Harare to extract maximum value.
Prospect is a southern Africa focused mining and exploration company based in Perth, Australia, with operations in Zimbabwe. The company also operates Sally and Prestwood gold mines which are located in Gwanda.
It is, however, the development of its Arcadia mine that is key to Prospect’s future fortunes and will establish Zimbabwe among the top lithium producers in the world.
Containing over 1,85Mt Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE), Arcadia is the largest code compliant hard rock lithium deposit in Africa and in the top 10 worldwide.
Prospect is in the middle of a $55 million capital raise, with the funds earmarked to construct a concentrate plant for the Arcadia project.
The lithium chemical plant development process is being supplemented by ongoing in-house research and development at its laboratory in Zimbabwe.
The lithium chemical plant will be first of its kind in Africa.
“The establishment of a lithium chemical plant at Arcadia will make the Arcadia project one of the few vertically integrated lithium projects in the world and certainly a first for Africa,” the company said in its annual report.
Prospect said significant progress has been made in generating battery grade lithium carbonate from Arcadia’s petalite concentrate feedstock.
As part of the second phase of its development, Prospect is planning the construction of a carbonate lithium plant.
The Arcadia project is expected to have a yearly plant throughput of 1,2 million tonnes, and a lifespan of 20 years.
According to the company, the pre-feasibility study of the Arcadia project, which was completed in July this year, delivered a quality, low cost asset that is expected to provide high quality spodumene and petalite concentrates for many years to come.
The process and metallurgical test work completed at Arcadia produced three primary product streams that are considered suitable feedstock for end users in the lithium battery, glass and ceramic markets.
In August, the company reported that the first product of these samples from the Arcadia lithium project were distributed to interested third party and downstream customers in China, Europe and North America, and demand from the potential customers was very high, which the company believed will secure a market for its lithium.
Progress at its Gwanda East gold projects has continued, albeit at a slower rate due to the focus on Arcadia.
This include the exploration works at the Sally Gold Mine and the Prestwood Gold Mine, located in Gwanda.
“In the last year, the team has been successful in completing shaft sinking, footwall development as well as underground drilling at Sally and surface and underground drilling at Prestwood mines, including the production revenues of approximately $120,000 as part of the cleaning out of Sally underground stopes and drives. This revenue has been netted off against the exploration and evaluation expenditure,” the company said.
In the full year to June, revenue increased by 55 percent to $110,000 from $71,000 in the previous year. The company made a loss of $12,8 million from $1,7 million loss in the prior year, on increased expenses, which include exploration expenses among others.
Total assets stood at $14,5 million from $3,96 million previously. Its market capitalisation as at September 14 stood at $38,2 million.
Arcadia would become Zimbabwe’s third lithium producer, after the Premier African Minerals-owned Zulu lithium project near Fort Rixon and Bikita Minerals in Masvingo.
Zimbabwe is already Africa’s largest lithium producer and fifth largest in the world after producing 900 tonnes in 2015.