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US$45million Sabi Star lithium floatation plant commissioned



US$45million Sabi Star lithium floatation plant commissioned

Sabi star plant

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday commissioned a US$ 45 million Sabi Star lithium floatation plant in Buhera, Zimbabwe.

Rudairo Mapuranga

Speaking at the official commissioning of the floatation plant President Mnangagwa commended Sabi Star Lithium Mine for moving with the government’s vision that will see the country begin positioned as a key player in the Lithium market.

“It is pleasing to note that Sabi Star has taken heed of the call by my Government to beneficiate and value-add minerals before exportation through the construction of the lithium (spodumene) flotation plant. My Government banned the export of raw lithium ores through Statutory Instrument 5 of 2023 which was then followed by Statutory Instrument 57 of 2023 meant to promote local beneficiation of the lithium ores.

“The lithium (spodumene) flotation plant we are witnessing here today represents a huge effort in Mineral Value Addition and Beneficiation which is in line with goals of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and Statutory Instruments I have mentioned above. The global demand for lithium is rapidly increasing, and the presence of our own processing facilities not only reduces our reliance on imports but also positions Zimbabwe as a key player in the lithium market,” Mnangagwa said.

Vice President of Zimbabwe Dr Constantine Chiwenga speaking at the same event said the lithium flotation plant will harness the lithium-rich mineral resources abundant in Buhera, tapping into the vast lithium reserves and transforming them into a higher value beneficiated product sought after in the global market.

“The collaborative efforts from Sabi Star have resulted in the successful completion of this processing plant through their investments in our country’s wide long-term investor-friendly opportunities. Through their dedication and passion, the country is establishing itself as one of the top lithium mining and processing hubs,” Dr Chiwenga said.

The Minister of Mines and Mining Development Hon Winston Chitando said the official opening of the Max Mind Sabi Star’s Flotation plant is a clear testimony that the strategies outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) are beginning to bear results.

“Today, we are launching this state-of-the-art lithium flotation plant set up by one of the major producers in the lithium subsector, Max Mind Sabi Star. I can assure you, Your Excellency, that this project has the potential to be a major contributor to the entire lithium mineral processing revolution by unlocking the full potential of our mineral resources. The plant will be capable of processing low-grade spodumene with high efficiency and output,” Chitando said.

The construction of the Sabi Star plant required a capital injection of USD 45 Million and has the capacity to process 3,000 tonnes of lithium (spodumene) per day. Operation of the flotation plant will lead to direct employment of 450 employees, 85% of them being locals and another 400 contractors.

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The declared resource at the mine is 6 million tonnes of Lithium and Tantalite ores. Exploration work commenced in 2018 and cost a total of USD 6 Million.

Earthworks for the processing plant were started in June 2022 with plant construction reaching 50 percent completion in December 2022, testing phase in May 2023, and full commissioning in August 2023.

During the construction stage, the Project employed over 1000 employees mainly from the local communities.

The construction of a 15 MW thermal power plant to supply power for all operations at the mine is now 40 per cent complete.

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