HARARE – Australia-listed lithium company, Prospect Resources says the laboratory at its Arcadia project is now fully operational and achieving consistent high Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) in all assays including trace analysis in lithium carbonate being produced from the pilot plant.
The Arcadia project is located approximately 38 km east of Harare in the high veld close to the long established Arcturus gold mine.
It project is the largest lithium deposit in Africa comprising 808 000 tons of lithium oxide.
The Zimbabwe government in 2017 granted the company National Project Status to develop Arcadia. President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to officiate at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Arcadia Mine later this year.
Through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) the country this year also sealed a deal with a foreign investor to exploit lithium deposits worth $1,4 billion in Matabeleland North.
“The laboratory is also fully functional in the metallurgical test work that will be instrumental in the beneficiation plant commissioning and ongoing optimization,” Prospect Resources said on Wednesday in a market update.
The laboratory is fully equipped with an XRD mineral analyser, AAS elemental analyser as well as a range of other equipment.
“The aim of the laboratory has been to train and maintain a full complement of chemists, assayers, flotation recovery technicians and grade control technicians.”
The Arcadia lithium carbonate pilot plant has milled over 2 tons of ore at an average grade, over the past week.
Prospect Resources said lithium carbonate (LC) inventory were at 100 kilograms, all of which awaits final purification to battery grade levels.
“More than 13 kg of pure lithium carbonate (PLC) has been produced in the past week at an average purity of 99.6 percent LC and is meeting or exceeding battery grade specifications,” it said.
“This product is expected to be made available for sale and due diligence purposes by prospective customers,” it said.
It added that the the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development inspector of mines and explosives had formally accepted Nixon Mugwadhi as the legally appointed mine manager of the Arcadia Mine.
Previously Mugwadhi was Hwange Colliery Mine planning manager.
In April 2017, Prospect raised $25 million to fund construction of its mine and plant at the Arcadia lithium project. The entire project is expected to be completed and in production by the second quarter of next year.
The company also operates Sally and Prestwood Gold Mines, located in Gwanda. – New Ziana