AUSTRALIA Stock Exchange (ASX) listed junior miner, Prospect Resources, has delivered the first lithium sample of its Arcadia Mine to offtake partner, Sinomine of China, as the firm gears for full throttle production.
Prospect said the technical grade lithium, petalite, that was produced from its pilot plant was delivered at a ceremony held in Harare last week.
The company said it looked forward to delivering high purity lithium products to the downstream supply chain to complete respective product qualification processes with off-takers. Lithium is one of the minerals the Government has designated as integral to the achievement of the US$12 billion mining industry target by 2023.
It also lays the foundation for the Government’s vision of attaining an upper middle-income status by 2030. Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando, and Mash East Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Apolonia Munzverengi, were part of high-profile guests at the ceremonial event for handover of samples.
The sample delivered from the Arcadia Mine lithium pilot plant last week officially heralded the beginning of lithium production at Arcadia under the firm’s near-term production plans, which will see the firm produce up to 1,2 million tonnes with capacity to ramp up annual output to 2,4Mtpa.
Managing director, Mr Sam Hosack, described the ceremonial handover of the lithium sample as a significant and memorable achievement for Prospect, which demonstrated its ability to successfully deliver the pilot plant project by producing petalite in Zimbabwe.
“The close proximity of the Arcadia Project to the country’s capital, Harare, provides significant advantages, which have already been utilised to successfully execute on the pilot plant project through development and into production,” he said.
“Continued support from our parent Ministry of Mines and Mining Development led by Minister (Winston) Chitando, Mr Hosack said, has enabled Prospect to achieve this important milestone on the path to full scale development of Arcadia and commercial production.
“We are a team made up of Zimbabweans, with a deep determination to get Arcadia funded and operational. The Special Economic Zone license, and the close integration and alignment we enjoy with Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) has been critical to the success of the pilot plant and is expected to make a material difference to our ability to fund the Arcadia Project.
“With the Arcadia pilot plant in production, the teams are now focused on generating high purity on specification technical grade petalite to showcase Arcadia’s petalite to the largest customers in the global glass and ceramics markets,” Mr Hosack said.
The petalite produced in operation will be independently assayed for quality assurance. Prospect’s other offtake partner Sibelco has reportedly requested additional tonnes over and above the original planned 200 tonnes so that they can seek qualification with a greater number of customers across Europe and Asia.
The company has also expanded engagement with a range of strategic groups from across Japan, China and Europe in recent months, who have an interest in spodumene offtake and assisting with the development of the project.
Prospect is also set to produce laboratory spodumene samples for a number of these parties over the coming weeks to facilitate further due diligence on the Arcadia Mine Project.
Early delivery of the product will ensure homologation can be achieved in the customers’ production process and will establish clear additional demand for the product within the industry.
This will assist the company in leveraging the value of the Arcadia project as a leader in the supply of high-quality spodumene products.