A unit of Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt said on Friday it has made its first shipment of concentrate, a year after the Chinese giant acquired the lithium mine about 40km out of Harare.
Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe’s Arcadia mine celebrated its first anniversary with a maiden export shipment of lithium concentrates—spodumene and petalite.
In an address to staff and management, chairman George Fang said their “diligent work that has resulted in the wonderful results we see today, and the brave new world that the company is embarking on as a producer of new energy materials for the global market at an opportune time the world is undergoing transformation in the energy sector and related technologies”.
“Our investment in Zimbabwe thrusts the country on the global map of renewable energy and technology value chains,” he said.
The company has made an impact in the Goromonzi District of Mashonaland East province and beyond.
Fang said the company called on local communities to take up employment opportunities at inception.
“This prioritisation resulted in hundreds of people being employed from local villages and wards in Goromonzi District of Mashonaland East Province, while more and more people with varying skills came from all over the country,” he said.
“Our project employed about 1000 people during the construction stage, and is set to employ hundreds more when production goes full scale.”
As part of the company’s community-driven initiatives PLZ has invested in education, health, water, security and road infrastructure in the district, following on recommendations by a local committee. This year, the company will embark on further corporate social responsibility initiatives.
General manager, Henry Zhu praised the progress achieved in the past year.
“The year 2022 was a notable year for us for many reasons but of importance was that we started construction of the processing plant with the blessings of our mother company Huayou,” Zhu said
“I am happy to say the construction stage is almost over and we now commissioning the plant after which we can fully produce product.”
Trevor Barnard, the deputy general manager, chronicled how the lithium resource was first discovered in 2017 and the process that led to the acquisition by Huayou last year. He expressed satisfaction at the speed with which the project has been completed leading to the successful commencement.
The plant, which has a capacity of 450mt per annum, and one of the world’s biggest, will be officially commissioned soon.
Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt last year shelled out US$422m to acquire the mine from Australian company, Prospect Resources.
It has invested US$300m for the development of the mine and plant.
Construction works began in May last year.