Prospect Resources, the Australia-listed exploration company, says it has made “a significant new discovery” at its lithium claim in Goromonzi.
The explorer previously struck it rich at Arcadia, where it spent US$25.7 million on exploration, found a resource, and then sold the operation to Huayou Cobalt last year for US$422 million. Since then, Prospect has been exploring again at the WinBin area of the Step Aside claim, just 8km near Arcadia. It likely lies within the same mineralised system as the 72.7Mt Arcadia project.
“We are very excited by the potential of this new, buried pegmatite discovery at Step Aside,” MD and CEO Sam Hosack said. “Prompt follow-up drilling of WinBin is underway and we look forward to rapidly advancing this new opportunity.”
Zimbabwe is hoping to attract investment in lithium to boost the country’s mining output, which underpins the economy’s export earnings. However, the Chamber of Mines has recently warned that the fall in metal prices, including those of lithium, may slow down mining investment.
The Arcadia transaction showed why smaller explorers such as Prospect Resources are key for mine investors.
After taking over the site, Huayou quickly built a new US$300 million processing plant at Arcadia, and has already sent out its first exports of lithium concentrates. The company has so far produced 150,000 tonnes of both spodumene and petalite concentrate and exported over 100,000 tonnes. It expects to reach full design capacity of 450 000 tonnes of concentrate by next year, according to general manager Zhu Haijun.
Another lithium company, Shengxiang lithium, is developing a processing plant in Goromonzi.
Other lithium investors in the country include Bikita Minerals, Sabi Star in Buhera, as well as UK companies Red Rock, Galileo and Premier African Minerals.