Lithium producer, Zimbabwe Lithium has struck a deal with Empress Nickel Refinery (ENR) which will see its lithium being processed by the Rio Zimbabwe subsidiary.
In February, Zimbabwe Lithium Company and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation entered into a joint venture agreement for the development of lithium tailings deposit at Kamativi Mine.
Zimbabwe Lithium managing director John McTaggart confirmed the development.
Empress Nickel Refinery can enable players in the lithium mining sub-sector to beneficiate lithium concentrates to battery grade.
ENR managing director Clever Karivo told the Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe lithium Conference recently in Victoria Falls said ENR is able to process lithium concentrate into a final product that is battery grade lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide, if the plant is retrofitted.
“ENR can be retrofitted to produce lithium carbonate thus reducing capital expenditure and project delivery time. ENR will undertake a phased approach to produce technical grade then battery enable earlier revenue generation,” said Karivo while making a presentation at the Conference.
He said ENR has an operating refinery with all relevant permits and has capacity to produce cobalt, copper and nickel within the same facility (making future battery manufacturing possible.
McTaggart said Zimbabwe Lithium commenced auger drilling in March 2018 under supervision of MSA.
He said on completion MSA will issue NI43-101 Resource Statement compliance. The company’s exploration target is around 23 – 25Mt at a grade between 0.50 percent and 0.84 percent Lithium Carbonate.
Lithium appears to have suddenly become the new buzz word in Zimbabwe’s mining sector and beyond over the past few years with a number of foreign companies already making significant progress in projects.
There is already a well-established market for lithium mineral concentrate, in technical applications such as glass and ceramics, but in recent years there has also been substantial growth in the market for lithium chemicals used in re-chargeable batteries.