Prospect nears completion of Arcadia lithium pilot plant, on course for first petalite shipment in June

Prospect Resources, which is developing the Arcadia lithium mine, says its pilot plant is close to completion and the company is on course to make its first shipment of petalite this month.

Some 92% of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction scope for the pilot plant is now done, Prospect CEO Sam Hosack said in an update on Monday.

With the plant, Arcadia will supply bulk samples of Prospect’s products to customers to obtain the product qualification that it needs to access key markets and raise demand for its products. Sibelco, the Belgian offtake partner, has requested additional tonnage above its request of an initial 200 tonnes.

“The Arcadia Project team has continued to meet the development timeline and I’m pleased to announce that we have completed approximately 92% of the works required to commence production at our Pilot Plant,” Hosack said.

“With lithium market sentiment and prices having increased through 2021, a strong cash balance and the Company being shovel-ready to develop the Arcadia Project, Prospect is well positioned to make the transition to development and production.”

Petalite is used in the glass and ceramics industry.

Last year, Prospect Resources signed a seven-year deal to supply petalite to Sibelco, the largest distributor of the metal in Europe and one of the world’s largest glass-ceramic manufacturers.

With the Sibelco deal, all of the petalite that Prospect will produce from Arcadia lithium mine in the first seven years now has guaranteed buyers.

Says Prospect: “The early delivery of product will ensure homologation can be achieved in the customers’ production process and will establish clear additional demand for the product within the industry which will assist Prospect in leveraging the value of the Arcadia project as the world leader in supply of this and it’s high quality spodumene products.”

Prospect: Arcadia site works

Updating on the works at the site, near Goromonzi, Prospect said procurement of equipment has been completed. Power supply connection and reticulation on site is done, while the laboratory and camp site are ready for the pilot plant’s operation.

Ore stockpile has been prepared to feed the crushing circuit while earthworks and civil works are completed. The pre-assembled DMS unit is on route to site, Prospect says.

Prospect is talking to potential customers in Japan, China and Europe who are interested in buying spodumene. While petalite is the technical-grade lithium concentrate used for glass and ceramics, spodumene is the chemical-grade lithium concentrate that can be converted into lithium chemicals.

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