Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ), a subsidiary of China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Limited, has invested over US$700 million in acquiring and establishing a processing plant at its Arcadia Lithium Mine in Goromonzi District, Mashonaland East Province. This investment signifies a major commitment to the development of the lithium industry in Zimbabwe.
The expenditure on the Arcadia project encompasses the US$422 million spent by Houyou Cobalt in 2021 to acquire the asset from Prospect Resources, an Australian mining group. The acquisition marks a significant expansion for Houyou Cobalt, a leading global producer of energy lithium-ion battery materials and new cobalt materials.
Mining Reserves and Operations
PLZ’s Arcadia Lithium Mine boasts reserves of 43 million tonnes. The company has installed a US$300 million processing plant and began exporting lithium concentrate in April last year. The mining operations involve open-pit strip ratio mining, a method that balances ore quantity with waste removal.
According to PLZ assistant general manager and spokesperson Rugare Dhobbie, the processing plant was constructed in a record time of nine to ten months, a significant reduction from the anticipated two-year build time. The company exported its first lithium product in late April last year, followed by the official commissioning of the processing plant by President Mnangagwa in July.
Future Expansion Plans
PLZ is planning further investments in the Arcadia Lithium project, including the development of a tantalite processing plant. This expansion is part of PLZ’s strategy to enhance its production capacity and product range.
As the global economy transitions to green energy solutions, lithium has become increasingly important. It is a key component in lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, solar energy systems, and various electronic devices.