Mining

Prospect courts investor for Arcadia project

TINASHE MAKICHI

Prospect Resources is in discussions with an investor to develop its Arcadia Lithium project under a joint venture contract.

The company is also engaging its existing off take partners as well as several potential off take partners in relation to its spodumene production and its staged development plan.

Prospect said these activities will be run in parallel with the preparation of the revised feasibility study to deliver a more certain implementation plan.

“The company is advancing discussions with strategic corporate and institutional financiers as well as early-stage discussions to consider a development joint venture with a large corporate investor,” Prospect said in a statement.

The company said  it has decided to focus the pilot plant  at Arcadia on producing technical grade petalite samples using the dense medium separation (DMS) in accordance with the project’s existing feasibility study flow sheet rather than both petalite and spodumene samples using a flotation flow sheet.

The DMS flow sheet is considered the lower risk pathway to near-term production as determined through detailed analysis by management and a number of external third-party experts.

The company notes that petalite as a proportion of the Arcadia mineral endowment was significant and increasing the recovery of petalite and maximising sales into the technical market is an important strategic objective as the project progresses.

The pilot plant is considered as a key long-term operational asset for the company and its operation alongside commercial operations is considered vital as it will allow for geo-metallurgical confirmation and optimisation for each ore type prior to feed into the commercial operation.

The pilot plant is expected to produce and ship samples in the first half of this year.

According to the company, the production and export of petalite produced by the pilot plant will provide validation of the readiness of the regulatory and fiscal regime that will apply to the commercial operation.

This “commercial road-test” is expected to de-risk this element of the project for lenders and investors by demonstrating sales receipts through the off-take agreement and the ability to deal freely with foreign currency receipts.

The operation of the pilot plant will allow for the accumulation of knowledge during design, mitigating the scaling issues that peer lithium producers have experienced on account of a too rapid growth in supply.

The petalite flotation increases flow sheet risk, increases capital and operating cost against initial assessments, and would require considerable time and effort to fine tune and perfect for use in a commercial operation.

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