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Arcadia Li project plans mid-2018 start

05 Feb 2018 11:24 GMT
Arcadia Li project plans mid-2018 start

Cape Town, 5 February (Argus) — The Arcadia lithium-tantalum project in Zimbabwe expects to break ground by mid-2018 and begin operations at the mine 14 months later.

Africa's largest lithium project has mining and environmental approvals in place and continues with a definitive feasibility study, owner Perth-based Prospect Resources said at conference in Cape Town.

Arcadia's proven and probable ore reserve is 26.9mn t, grading 1.31pc lithium oxide and 128 parts per million tantalum oxide. This equates to 351,000t of lithium oxide and 7.6mn lbs of tantalum oxide and 868,000t of lithium carbonate equivalent.

The project's overall mineral resource is 72.7mn t, grading 1.1pc lithium oxide and 119 parts per million tantalum oxide. This translates into 807,800t of lithium oxide. Prospect estimates that Arcadia contains 2.0mn t of lithium carbonate equivalent.

A seven-year offtake agreement is in place with China's Sinomine Resource Exploration. The offtake agreement accounts for around one third of Arcadia's mineral resource.

The offtake agreement comprises 75,000 t/yr spodumene concentrate and 150,000 t/yr petalite concentrate. Spodumene and petalite are both lithium-bearing minerals, which can be converted into battery grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.

The petalite offtake agreement with Sinomine is possibly the largest petalite offtake agreement anywhere in the world, the company said.

Prospect is considering building Africa's first lithium carbonate plant to produced 6,500 t/yr of lithium carbonate.

Arcadia's net present value is $319mn and expected life of mine revenue is $2.3bn over 20 years. Capital expenditure for the initial mining project is estimated at $52.5mn.