Prospect seeks to double Arcadia mine lifespan

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Taurai Mangudhla

Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) listed Zimbabwean miner Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe plans to double the mine lifespan at its Arcadia mine located just outside Harare on the back of exploration for new resources in the country and the region, executive director Harry Greaves has said.

Lithium has a lot of potential on the global market and is largely seen as a game changer for Zimbabwe’s mining industry which boasts of one of the largest deposits of the mineral in the world. Zimbabwe is said to have potential to produce 20 percent of global lithium.

Exploration is however not an immediate focus, given the company is still at capital raising stage for its two phased $600 million project at Arcadia.

So far, investment worth US$30 million has been spent on the project, now employing 100 people directly and 2 000 more indirectly.

“We would obviously like to double the mine life if we could but that’s obviously dependent on the success of our exploration,” Greaves told Business Times in an interview on the sidelines of the Imara investor conference in Harare recently.

“Our current resource can be redefined which gives us the opportunity to extend the mine life and then with regional exploration we would obviously want to find other sources of ore to extend the mine life, we are confident that we will do that, but it’s not the focus right now.”

Greaves said Prospect Lithium is a battery mineral focused company currently running flagship Arcadia.

The company, he said, is looking for other lithium opportunities and other battery mineral opportunities in Zimbabwe and the region.

Phase one of the project is to produce the concentrate and the capex is at US$163 million, US$30 million of which has already been spent, and phase two depends on the size of the mine.

“So phase two will be somewhere between $200 to $400 million, but the focus is now entirely on phase one. We would love to go to phase two because we think it would be a fantastic development for the country to beneficiate the next stage,” Greaves added.

So far, the company has produced about 200kg of lithium carbonate as a pilot to prove its capacity.

The plant capacity we will be processing 2,4 million tonnes a year as the run off feed to produce 420 000 tons of concentrates.

 Arcadia is the largest code compliant hard rock lithium deposit in Africa.