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AUSTRALIA-LISTED mining concern Prospect Resources Limited has shipped its first 25-tonne container of technical grade petalite concentrate from its Arcadia pilot plant, near Harare, the firm said at the weekend.

The shipment will be delivered to Prospect’s Belgium headquartered offtake partner, Sibelco, a global material solutions company. Which sources, transforms and distributes special industrial minerals — particularly silica, clays, feldspathics and olivine.

It is a leader in glass recycling.The African lithium developer revealed in a statement that the pilot plant results were consistent with previous lab scale test work and confirm the amenability of the Arcadia ore reserves to the production of an ultra-low iron, technical grade petalite concentrate product. It also said the quality of the petalite concentrate in the shipment exceeded the specifications set out in Prospect’s offtake agreement with Sibelco.

Prospect received a pilot plant purchase order from Sibelco in May 2021 for up to 2 000 tonnes of technical grade petalite concentrate.

The pricing in the purchase order represents an implied premium to the prevailing chemical grade spodumene concentrate (SC6) price of approximately 40%, at the time the order was struck.

While the price of technical grade petalite concentrate is typically linked to the price of technical grade lithium carbonate (for which it is a more direct substitute), Prospect said the comparison to SC6 pricing highlighted the significantly higher unit value of the technical grade petalite concentrate product relative to SC6.

Prospect managing director Sam Hosack, said:  I’m extremely pleased to announce that the Arcadia Pilot Plant has shipped on-spec technical grade petalite that is now making its way to Sibelco.

“With the plant now generating bulk volumes, the Prospect team is focused on showcasing Arcadia’s petalite to both our potential partners and the largest customers in the global glass and ceramics markets.”

“The final qualification gate we expect to pass will demonstrate to our stakeholders that Arcadia will provide a high quality, long life raw material source for both petalite and spodumene supply chains,”

he said.

Hosack said he was also looking forward to announcing the results of the staged Optimised Feasibility Study (OFS) in the next few weeks.

With partner interest focused on faster ramp-up of the project, the team is also working hard with Lycopodium on the “direct to 2,4 Mtpa” case, which is due to be out later this calendar year, he said.

Product pricing assumptions contained in the OFS rely on independent, third-party sources, with an implied premium for technical grade petalite concentrate of approximately 30% over SC6 pricing.

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