Home » Premier African Minerals Secures Funding for Zimbabwe’s Largest Lithium Project

Premier African Minerals Secures Funding for Zimbabwe’s Largest Lithium Project

The project is expected to start production next week and supply spodumene and petalite concentrates for the global lithium market.

by Motoni Olodun

Premier African Minerals, a London-listed mining company, has announced that it will raise £ 2.48 million through a subscription to advance its Zulu lithium and tantalum project in Zimbabwe. The project is considered to be the largest undeveloped lithium-bearing pegmatite in the country, with an estimated resource of 526,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent and 1,025 tonnes of tantalum pentoxide.

The funding will be used to cover the final payments and operating expenses for the plant startup, which is expected to commence next week. The plant will produce spodumene and petalite concentrates, which are used as raw materials for lithium-ion batteries and other applications.

Premier’s CEO George Roach said that the placement assured Zulu of plant startup, subject only to suppliers meeting their obligations and undertakings. He added that the company was confident that Zulu would be able to source working capital finance from commercial lenders once production was underway.

Zulu is located 80 km from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, and covers an area of 3.5 km2. The project was first pegged in 1955 and explored until the early 1960s when minor petalite production was reported. The pegmatite bodies are rich in spodumene, lepidolite, and tantalite minerals, and have a strike length of several kilometers.

Premier has conducted several drilling programs at Zulu since 2016 and published a maiden inferred mineral resource estimate in 2017. The company also completed a scoping study that evaluated the economics of developing an open-pit mine and processing facility. The study projected a target production of 84,000 tonnes per year of spodumene concentrate and 32,500 tonnes per year of petalite concentrate for an initial 15-year mine life.

The project has received strong support from the Zimbabwean government, which granted the Premier an exclusive prospecting order over an area of 20,200 hectares in 2021. The government has also expressed interest in acquiring a stake in the project, as part of its efforts to promote the development of the lithium sector in the country.

Zimbabwe is one of the top ten lithium producers in the world, with an estimated reserve of 23,000 tonnes. The country has seen a surge of interest from local and foreign investors in recent years, as the global demand for lithium and other battery metals has increased. According to a report by Research and Markets, the global lithium market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.8% from 2024 to 2030, reaching a value of $14.7 billion.

Premier African Minerals is one of the leading players in the Zimbabwean mining industry, with interests in gold, tungsten, and rare earth elements. The company also has a stake in Circum Minerals, which owns the Danakil potash project in Ethiopia, one of the world’s largest undeveloped potash deposits.

Source: Mining Weekly

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