Prospect Resources PLC, developer of the Arcadia lithium project near Harare, intends to commence lithium sample shipments in the second half of this year, when it completes an accelerated staged development plan for the fledgling lithium initiative.
Lithium is an integral element of the Government’s target of building a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023 with lithium shipments anticipated to top half a billion United State dollars by then.
Mining is one of Zimbabwe’s largest foreign currency earners and it generates nearly three quarters of the country’s annual foreign currency receipts.
Following the strategy to assess a staged development plan of 1,2 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 2,4Mpta, Prospect said it was moving swiftly to begin an optimised feasibility study for Arcadia lithium project.
Prospect said the strategic view had recommended construction of a smaller, commercial-scale petalite pilot plant at the Arcadia Lithium Mine.
At Arcadia, Prospect has huge deposits of both technical grade (petalite) and chemical grade (spodumene) lithium, but wants to rapidly progress the technical grade lithium through a low risk, low cost near-term production under the staged development plan.
Prospect said it had appointed Perth based engineering consulting group, Lycopodium to lead and complete the Feasibility Study.
The Australian company was deemed a good fit given its past relationship with Prospect and the Arcadia project, as well as being a leader in designing, costing process plants and implementing projects across a wide range of commodities, including lithium.
Prospect’s managing director Sam Hosack said: “We believe that Lycopodium is the perfect partner for Prospect to align with on the Arcadia Project.
“Their broad capabilities, technical rigour, team of highly skilled engineers and designers, and track record in Australia, Africa and Zimbabwe provide a highly valuable service offering to Prospect Resources.
“We are very pleased with the progress that the Company is making towards delivering on its plan to build and operate a pilot plant to rapidly move Arcadia through optimised feasibility and into development.
“Prospect is determined to deliver on a clear development pathway in as short a timeframe as possible, whilst still ensuring that the technical and economic risks are fully understood and addressed.”
Lycopodium’s primary Scope of Work is the supervision of metallurgical test work, optimisation of the staged 1.2 Mtpa to 2.4 Mtpa flowsheet, design for the process plant, as well as related infrastructure including site power reticulation and on-site water treatment and distribution, Prospect said in recent a statement.
Mr Hosack said that the staged development plan reduced time to production by leveraging lower capital expenditure and funding requirements and also enabled clear expansion in line with market growth.
“This development strategy allows project execution and market integration risks to be minimised whilst accelerating the pathway to first cash flow.
“Critically, Prospect maintains the ability to go direct to a plant capacity of 2.4Mtpa should market conditions and funding activities allow. We look forward to providing regular market updates on the progress of the Optimised Feasibility Study over the coming months,” he said.
The lithium prospecting company said it believes that the use of a tier one engineering firm for the optimised feasibility study should assist in the process of securing requisite funding for the project.
Prospect will also continue to retain the ability to go direct to plant capacity of 2.4Mtpa, should market conditions and funding activities allow.
Prospect is in discussions with its existing off-take partners and institutional financiers with respect to financing pathways for the staged development of Arcadia.
It is also in early-stage discussions with strategic partners regarding joint development structures. – The Herald