Home » Zimbabwe’s Premier African Minerals to Start Lithium Production in March

Zimbabwe’s Premier African Minerals to Start Lithium Production in March

The company expects to ship the first batch of spodumene concentrate in March.

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe’s largest lithium producer, Premier African Minerals, announced on Wednesday that it had secured a $3.15 million funding round to resume operations at its Zulu mine in Matabeleland South Province. The company said it expected to start producing spodumene concentrate, a key ingredient for electric vehicle batteries, by the end of February and ship the first batch in March.

The funding round, which was led by two institutional investors, will be used to cover the direct operating expenses at Zulu, including the final payments for the installation of a new ball mill, a thickener, and a hydrosizer. The company also said it had completed the assembly of the new ball mill and was testing it at the site.

Premier African Minerals, which owns 100% of the Zulu project, said it had received an exclusive prospecting order from the Zimbabwean government in January, granting it the right to explore and mine lithium and tantalum in an area of 20,200 hectares. The company said it had identified areas of potential mineralization and secured them under new mineral claims.

The Zulu project is regarded as potentially the largest undeveloped lithium-bearing pegmatite in Zimbabwe, with an estimated resource of 526,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent and 1,025 tonnes of tantalum pentoxide. The company said it was conducting ongoing resource definition and extension drilling, with 17,380 meters drilled to date.

The company’s chief executive officer, George Roach, said the funding round assured Zulu of plant startup and production, subject only to suppliers meeting their obligations and undertakings. He said he was confident that Zulu would be able to source a working capital facility from commercial lenders once production was underway.

“This placement assures Zulu of plant startup, subject only to suppliers meeting their obligations and undertakings. This has and remains Premier’s single most important objective at this stage. That is targeted for next week and remains on target at this time,” Roach said in a statement.

He added that the company expected to receive a premium for its spodumene concentrates, which would have low iron and higher grades than the industry average. He also said the company was considering adding minor plant components to enable the production of tantalum concentrate in the future.

The Zulu project is one of several lithium projects in Zimbabwe, which has the world’s sixth-largest lithium reserves, according to the US Geological Survey. The country is seeking to tap into the growing global demand for lithium, driven by the transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy sources.

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global lithium market size was valued at $8.20 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.8% from 2024 to 2030. The report cited the electrification of vehicles as the main factor driving the demand for lithium-ion batteries and related products.

Source: The Chronicle

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