Prospect Resources, which is developing a lithium mine at Goromonzi, reports that it has discovered a “significant” presence of caesium, a rare mineral used for various purposes such as hydraulic drills and GPS technology.
The company says the discovery was made after soil samples were taken from an area around its drilled resource, during a satellite exploration and ground sterilisation programme.
“In December 2019, a small number (61) of stored pulps were selected for re-assay for caesium. These were selected from samples which had previously returned Lithium anomalies. These pulps were re-assayed successfully at UIS Analytical Services in Centurion, South Africa,” Prospect said on Tuesday.
The identified caesium is found within pollucite, a high value rare mineral that forms in Lithium-Caesium-Tantalum pegmatite systems.
“Global supply is very constrained,” the company adds. “The primary use of caesium is in Caesium Formate brine used in high temperature/high pressure oil and gas drilling.”
The samples were taken from Prospect’s Shabaash claim, which consists of a block of three mining claims, covering some 50 hectares located some 3km west of the planned Arcadia pit. The company now plans a trenching programme, which would confirm the scale and grade of the deposits.
“Although no statements as to the dimension and grade of the mineralisation can be made until it is followed up by trenching and/or drilling; the presence of pollucite is highly encouraging.”
Prospect expects to bring the Arcadia lithium mine to production in 2020.
Most of the world’s reserves of pollucite are located in Canada. The USA is the world’s biggest consumer of caesium and gets all its supplies from Canada.
Zimbabwe has at least 60 proven minerals, according to estimates by the Ministry of Mines. However, years of low investment in exploration means the country has no updated data on the scale of its mineral potential.
In November, British firm Rainbow Rare Earths, listed on the London Stock Exchange, acquired ten claims in Zimbabwe. The acquisition could give the company access to rare earths elements, a group of minerals used in everything from LCD TVs to batteries and defence technology.