The government’s call for lithium mining companies to produce battery-grade lithium is currently underway with Sabi Star Mine owners Max Mind Investment and partners already in preparation to construct an industrial Park which will host lithium battery manufacturing plants.
By Sophia Takuva
Sabi Star Mine which is expected to produce 1 million tonnes of raw ore is currently constructing processing infrastructure. The recovery of the lithium will be via the floatation process which will include gravity separation circuits to also recover tantalite. At full operational capacity, the 1 million tonnes of ore will translate to 300 000 tonnes of lithium concentrate and 300 tonnes of tantalite-niobium per year.
The construction of the processing infrastructure will be in the region of US$130 million.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of Sabi Star Mine and Lithium Concentrator Complex in Buhera yesterday Max Mind Project Manager Elfas Mugova said Sabi Star Mine will initially export lithium concentrates to China.
“The current production from Sabi Star will be exported as lithium concentrate to China. However, let me hasten to assure you and the people of Zimbabwe, that Max Mind has heeded the call for beneficiation of all mineral resources mined in Zimbabwe. Max Mind and their business partners have, therefore, begun preparatory work for the construction of an Industrial Park which will host lithium battery manufacturing plants among a host of other energy infrastructures.
“Max Mind has also set aside a fund for further exploration around Sabi Star which will enable the definition of more resources to ensure the continued operation and expansion of the mine and the Industrial Park,” Mugova said.
Speaking at the same event the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Hon Winston Chitando commended Sabi star mine for working in line with the government’s vision to see lithium value addition and beneficiation.
“The Sabi star mine at peak will produce 300 thousand tonnes of concentrates per annum. From a government thrust, 300 thousand tonnes will be value added to lithium carbonate at the mines to energy park. The impact is quite a phenomenon in terms of the local community and from the US$12 billion perspective. This project did not just happen but is a result of the open for business mantra and the 2030 vision,” Hon Chitando said.
President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa said the project by Max Mind and its partners to create a Mines to Industry Park will go a long way in ensuring and cementing Government vision 2030.
‘It is pleasing that Max Mine Private Limited plans to set up a unique battery-grade lithium plant in Mapinga this mining project will therefore directly feed into the mines to the energy park in Mapinga.
“This plant here in Buhera in two years will be earning around US$2 billion. The Sabi star mine lithium project is expected to generate employment opportunities for 400 employees gradually increasing to 900 people. Local beneficiation in the mining sector is now of paramount, local communities should benefit from their resources,” HE Mnangagwa said.