Zimbabwe’s largest lithium miner, Bikita Minerals has upgraded its plant which will now be able to beneficiate its own lithium ore and that of other players in the country.
The development comes at a time when Zimbabwe is being touted as a future major source of lithium.
“The entire plant at Bikita is now dedicated to beneficiating the ore. We upgrade our raw mined material from 1.2% Li2O contained to a final product with 4.2% LiO2 contained,” Bikita Minerals managing director, Grant Hudson said this week.
Zimbabwe is the world’s fifth-largest producer of lithium after Australia, Chile, Argentina and China. The country is expected to account for at least 20% of the mineral’s supply on the world market in the near future.
Apart from Bikita Minerals, there are several other players in the sub-sector. These include Arcadia Lithium which has completed a feasibility study and is expected to start production this year.
Premier African Minerals is also working on starting production in Zimbabwe.
This means these players can utilise the Bikita Minerals plant for beneficiation.
Recently, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube, said lithium has potential to bring economic development to Zimbabwe.
Lithium is used in the manufacture of key components in the ICT industry, manufacturing of batteries and is also beneficiated into lithium carbon which has higher value on the market.
Bikita Minerals was established in 1950 and has reserves amounting to 10.8m tonnes of lithium ore grading 1.4% lithium thus resulting in 0.15m tonnes of lithium.