The Australia Stock Exchange listed firm is building a smaller commercial scale pilot plant for only one of two locally available lithium varieties, because the route is a lower risk pathway to near term production.
Lithium mining was designated as an integral part of the Government’s US$12 billion mining industry target by 2023 with the strategically key sector expected to earn US$500 million annually.
According to the company, development work on the pilot plant has been progressing on schedule and is within the budget. The company expects to achieve the first ore to the commissioned crusher circuit by the end of May. EPC milestones completed on schedule and budget include flow-sheet and detailed engineering, procurement of equipment, power supply connection and reticulation on-site and laboratory and camp-site ready for pilot plant operation.
In addition, the company has also completed ore stockpile prepared to feed crushing circuit, earthworks and civil works completed and pre-assembled dense media separation unit on route to the site.
“Meet development time-line”
Prospect Resources managing director Sam Hosack said: “The Arcadia Project team has continued to meet the development timeline and I’m pleased to announce that we have completed approximately 92 percent of the works required to commence production at our Pilot Plant.
“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 Resources is well-positioned to make the transition to development and production.”
The company has appointed the operations team for the Pilot Plant, with key personnel holding significant lithium operational experience.
Prospect’s off-take partner Sibelco has requested additional tonnes over and above the original planned 200 tonnes so that they can seek qualification with a greater number of customers across Europe and Asia.
The company has also expanded engagement with a range of strategic groups from across Japan, China and Europe in recent months, who have an interest in spodumene off-take and assisting with the development of the project.
Prospect is set to produce laboratory spodumene samples for a number of these parties over the coming weeks to facilitate further due diligence on the Arcadia Project.
Early delivery of the product will ensure homologation can be achieved in the customers’ production process and will establish clear additional demand for the product within the industry.
This will assist the company in leveraging the value of the Arcadia project as a leader in the supply of high-quality spodumene products.
Welcoming the President
The company expects the President of Zimbabwe ED Mnangagwa to preside over the first production of high purity petalite from the pilot plant, which is likely to happen this month.
Prospect looks forward to welcoming the President, government officials and existing off-take partners to the site for the ceremony.
Australia-listed prospect earlier announced that it had commenced the development of a pilot plant to produce both petalite, which is technical grade and spodumene, (chemical) grade lithium samples.
Prospect indicated earlier this year it had decided to focus the pilot plant for producing, for the time being, only technical grade petalite samples using dense media separation (DMS).
The latest alternative is in accordance with Arcadia’s existing feasibility Study flowsheet rather than producing both petalite and spodumene samples using a flotation flow sheet. – Proactive Investors/Business Reporter.