Huge lithium processing plant commissioned in Zimbabwe

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  • PROSPECT Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ), a unit of Australia Stock Exchange-listed Prospect Resources Plc and subsidiary of Chinese company, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, has commissioned a lithium processing plant in Zimbabwe.
  • Zimbabwe has the largest lithium reserves in Africa.
  • The US$300 million ‘Arcadia’ plant will process up to 4.5 million metric tons of hard rock lithium into concentrate for export per year.

Zimbabwe President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was present for the official opening of the sprawling plant in Goromonzi, about 80 km’s southeast of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

Last year, Zimbabwe took the decision to ban the export of raw lithium ore to maximize their return on deposits of lithium, cobalt and nickel. This requires miners to invest locally in refining and processing before they can export.

“Lithium is the mineral of the present and the future … and value addition will position our country as an emerging and competitive player in the global lithium value chain,” Mnangagwa said. He urged PLZ to beef up expertise that would help Zimbabwe and other southern African countries manufacture lithium batteries and other components locally.

Image credit: PLZ

Lithium batteries are used in electric vehicles and various other energy storage applications.

PLZ deputy general manager, Trevor Barnard said that the firm aims to start by processing 450,000 tons of concentrate every year. The concentrate will be further processed into battery-grade lithium outside Zimbabwe.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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