Zulu to commence lithium processing
London-listed Premier African Minerals Ltd will start producing spodumene concentrates at its Zulu Lithium and Tantalum project in southern Zimbabwe following the completion of its milling plant, the company said in a statement yesterday.
“I am pleased to confirm the completion of the installation of the mill including all necessary feeds and discharge components, pumps, control circuitry and grinding media requirements that are expected to support planned production of up to 1,000 tonne per month of spodumene from November 2023 at Zulu,” said chief executive Mr George Roach.
Spodumene is a lithium ore with a high concentration of lithium, a key component in the production of batteries for electric vehicles.
The Zulu processing plant has the capacity to produce nearly 50 000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate annually.
Mr Roach said that the commissioning phase was now planned to commence immediately, with the first material expected to be fed through the mill next Monday.
Open pit mining operations at Zulu are expected to resume next week, said Mr Roach. While there was already substantial material on the run-of-mine pad, “it remains critical that the plant has sufficient ore for current processing”, Mr Roach added.
Zimbabwe holds the world’s largest reserves of hard rock lithium.
The Zulu project is generally regarded as potentially the largest undeveloped lithium-bearing pegmatite in Zimbabwe. It comprises 14 mineral claims covering a surface area of 3,5 square km, which are prospective for lithium and tantalum mineralisation.
Since the Government implemented a national ban on the export of unprocessed lithium resources in December last year to curb artisanal mining, there have substantial investments in processing facilities. In July this year, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt commissioned its lithium concentrator, which has an annual capacity of 450,000 tonnes at the Arcadia mine acquired for US$422 million last year.
In May, Chengxin Lithium commissioned a 300,000 metric tonne per year lithium concentrator at Sabi Star mine in eastern Zimbabwe.
Sinomine has also completed the construction of a spodumene concentrate plant at Bikita Lithium Mine.