AUSTRALIAN-LISTED Prospect Resources says it has engaged a local firm to provide construction services to set up a mining plan as the group moves to implement the first phase of its US$55 million Arcadia lithium project in Zimbabwe.
Prospect this week allayed fears that it was going to miss the deadline to roll out the first phase of the project, which entails the development of the lithium mine.
JR Goddard, a local company and DRA of South Africa, have been contracted to provide construction and engineering services respectively.
“Prospect is excited about the company moving the Arcadia Lithium project into the development and
build phase. Since the updated off-take agreement was announced on the 4th April 2018, the company is now in complete control of the design, build, commissioning and financing of the mine and concentrate plant,” the company said.
Under phase two of the Arcadia project, which will require a US$200 million capital outlay, Prospect will build a lithium carbonate plant.
Earlier this year, Prospect Resources said it was mobilising resources required to implement the preliminary stage of the project, which will see the miner exporting lithium concentrates during H1 2019.
The Zimbabwean government has singled out the Arcadia lithium plant as one of the key projects which can drive efforts to revive the country’s fragile economy.
Once operational, the Arcadia project will have capacity to process high-grade lithium suitable for the manufacture of batteries, glass, ceramic and tantalite products.
Zimbabwe is the fifth largest lithium-producer in the world, while it also holds the largest deposits of the mineral globally, the bulk of which is strewn around the Bikita area, estimated at 11 million tonnes.
In Africa, implementation of the Arcadia lithium project would consolidate Zimbabwe’s position as the fifth largest producer of the mineral on the continent.
Projections from the latest feasibility study show that with an ore reserve estimated at 1,34% lithium oxide and 125 parts per million tantalum pentoxide, Prospect Resources anticipates that the project will be developed into a 1,2 million-tonne-a-year mining and processing operation.
The plant is also projected to have a mine life of about 20 years.