PREMIER African Minerals has finished building a lithium processing plant at its Zulu mine in Zimbabwe and expects to start production of spodumene concentrate soon.
Spodumene is a lithium ore with high concentration of lithium, a key component in the production of batteries for electric vehicles. Premier built the plant, which has capacity to produce nearly 50 000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate annually, as part of a US$35 million offtake deal signed last year with China’s CanMax Technologies.
“We expect to produce spodumene, a lepidolite mica rich concentrate and a tantalum rich concentrate … provided that final formal outstanding approvals from certain Zimbabwean authorities are received,” Premier CEO George Roach said in a recent statement.
Zimbabwe holds some of the world’s biggest hard-rock lithium deposits and has recently attracted about US$700 million in investment from several Chinese firms, including CanMax, which also bought a 13.38 percent stake in Premier last year, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, Sinomine Resource Group and Chengxin Lithium Group.
On March 22, Huayou said it had started trial production from its Arcadia lithium project 40 kilometres outside Zimbabwe’s capital Harare. Huayou said the US$300 million Arcadia plant has capacity to process 4.5 million tonnes of lithium ore at Arcadia, producing 50 000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent lithium concentrate. — Reuters
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