AUSTRALIA Stock Exchange (ASX) listed Zimbabwe lithium producer Prospect Resources, says it is well positioned to tap the rechargeable batteries market whose share of the lithium batteries market is projected to sky-rocket from the current 54 percent to 86 percent by 2025.
Prospect is developing Zimbabwe’s foremost electric vehicle batteries lithium project at Arcadia, about 38 kilometres east of the Capital Harare, which will see US$163 million being invested in the first phase of the project.
The lithium miner has already commenced plant construction following the ground breaking event for the lithium project officiated by President Mnangagwa in January this year.
The company said in a presentation to investors that the rechargeable batteries market was expected to increasingly dominate demand for lithium between 2018 and 2025.
“Prospect is positioned to supply this market with its battery grade petalite and spodumene concentrates,” said Prospect. The ASX listed company said its low iron petalite was also good for ceramics and glass production.
Prospect’s Arcadia project is expected to start production by mid 2020. The ASX listed firm has also successfully built a pilot lithium carbonate plant in Kwekwe.
The Arcadia project has a 26,9 million lithium ore reserve and an estimated lithium resource of 43,2 million. The project has an average life of mine of 12 years.
Zimbabwe is currently the world’s fifth largest producer through the only producing lithium mine at the moment, Bikita Minerals, but will assume higher ranking once production at the Arcadia project roars into life.
Other developing lithium project include Jimbata’s US$1,4 billion tailing project in Kamativi and Premier African Minerals Zulu lithium project located near Bulawayo.
Lithium Demand is expected to grow at 22 percent per annum until 2025. This equates to demand more than tripling over the next 6 years.
The supply/demand for fit-for-purpose lithium is expected to move into deficit in 2020. By 2024, the supply deficit is expected to total the 2019 total risk-adjusted supply.
Prospect said it had obtained a US$10 million export finance facility from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which is on a drive to grow export receipts into the country.
The prospective lithium miner has also secured national project and Special Economic Zone status for the Arcadia project, whose grounding breaking was officiated by President Mnangagwa, testimony of Government support.
Zimbabwe is currently the 5th largest producer of lithium globally, with Zimbabwe’s total mining industry currently exporting over US$2,4 billion per annum.
Fiscal and monetary policy reforms position Zimbabwe for economic recovery, underpinned by foreign investment, said Prospect Resources.
With regard to infrastructure, Prospect said its mine is located close to a 33KVA interconnection with secured capacity (3km’s from site), where there is surplus groundwater available. The mine is close to skilled and semi-skilled labour (35km from the Capital city, Harare).
Logistically, the mine is along an established transport and port infrastructure. The closest sea port, Beira in Mozambique is only 580 kilometres away by heavy haulage capable roads.
The mine will have access to available bulk loading facilities. Total port throughput is approximately 1,36 million tonnes per annum.