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ASX-listed Prospect Resources has commenced commissioning of a battery grade lithium carbonate pilot plant in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe –  Prospect Resources expects to ramp up to full pilot production rate of over 100 kg per month of battery grade lithium carbonate during Q2 2018.

The company has established a laboratory complex in the Kwekwe area which is now fully functional and supporting the laboratory scale and pilot scale production of lithium carbonate.

Small scale production of battery grade >99.5% lithium carbonate is continuing in the laboratory in parallel to the pilot plant commissioning.

The laboratory achievements to date include:

  • Recruitment and training of a team of assayers, chemists and engineers;
  • Developed an in-house capacity for metallurgical test work including flotation and leaching test work;
  • Full implementation of a laboratory scale lithium carbonate production process to demonstrate the amenability and viability of converting Arcadia 4% Li2O Petalite concentrates into battery grade lithium carbonate.

The company believes that these results demonstrate the success of the programme so far.

“This is a significant achievement for both Prospect Resources and Zimbabwe, says Prospect Resources chairman Hugh Warner.

“Producing high grade battery quality lithium carbonate that exceeds industry norms bodes well for the ultimate company goal of a large scale lithium carbonate facility in-country.

“This entire process has been designed and built in-country using local skills and services further demonstrating the business friendly environment that Zimbabwe is rapidly becoming,” he notes.

Arcadia project at a glance

The Arcadia lithium project is located approximately 38 km east of Harare, Zimbabwe in the high veld close to the long established Arcturus gold mine.

Arcadia occupies an area of more than 14 km2 and consists of some historical lithium and beryl workings within an existing agricultural area partially surrounded by a number of hills rising some 50 m above the central basin floor.

The project is located close to major highways and railheads, with the Beira Port being less than 450 km away by rail/road transport. The proximity to Harare as a source of professional, skilled and semi-skilled labour, engineering skills and its location as a regional transport and services hub adds to the project’s economics.

Good Days lithium project acquisition

Prospect Resources has exercised its option to acquire the Good Days lithium project. The project is located in north eastern Zimbabwe and contains numerous mineralised pegmatites.

The 8 kmGood Days lithium project is located in north eastern Zimbabwe and contains numerous mineralised pegmatites, including historical workings for spodumene and tantalite (amongst other minerals) at the Good Days and Jordywyitt mines.

It is currently held by the Zimbabwean company Barrington Resources, who Prospect entered into an option agreement with in June 2017 to acquire a 70% direct interest in the project following a positive outcome from due diligence.