BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
AUSTRALIAN Lithium miner, Prospect Resources, says it has deferred a planned takeover of Farvic Consolidated Mines’ equity stake in Arcadia mine to the end of this year.
Under the agreement inked about a year ago, Farvic will transfer its shares in the Zimbabwe-based mine to Prospect Resources.
Farvic is Prospect Resources’ partner in the Arcadia lithium project, one of the most promising investments in Zimbabwe, which is currently under development about 60 kilometres northeast of Harare.
After the transaction, Prospect Resources will increase its shareholding in the Zimbabwean asset to 87% from the current 70%.
Prospect said the transaction would maximise its exposure to the economic potential of Arcadia, simplify the corporate structure of the operation and reinforce strength of support of its project level partners.
Prospect will issue 9 497 680 fully paid ordinary shares to Farvic as part of the transaction.
“We are excited to extend the sale and purchase agreement with Farvic, which upon completion, gives Prospect 87% equity stake in the Arcadia project,” Prospect managing director Sam Hosack (pictured) said.
“The transaction was previously assessed as being accretive to (Prospect Resources) shareholders and we believe this to still be the case. The lithium market has shown signs of coming into balance which demands a rethink to secure best time to market.
“Our current focus is the revised pilot plant which adopts the greatest technical certainty to facilitate financing, delivering key objectives for customer qualification, project finance parties and investors in de-risking the Arcadia project,” he said.
Prospect has announced a number of key developments at the Arcadia lithium asset following detailed strategic reviews of the project by management and several external third party experts on the pathway to near-term production.
Last year, Prospect announced that it had commenced the development of a pilot plant to produce petalite and spodumene samples at the operation.
Hosack said discussions with financiers with regards to the project were ongoing, while a joint venture was also under consideration.
“The company is advancing discussions with strategic corporate and institutional financiers as well as early-stage discussions to consider a development joint venture with a large corporate investor,” Hosack said.
Prospect said it was continuing discussions with its existing off-take partners alongside a number of potential off-take partners in relation to its spodumene production profile and its staged development plan.
Focus on this front has shifted to meeting project finance requirements, the firm’s boss said in his shareholder update.
He said these activities would be run in tandem with the preparation of the revised feasibility study to deliver a more certain implementation plan.
Prospect also said an initial small commercial-scale production facility at Arcadia utilising the existing feasibility study would allow for a reduced capital and operating-cost operation.
“It was assessed that the potential increase in petalite recovery was insufficient justification to compensate for the higher technology risk for start-up operations.
In line with the staged development plan, the company has agreed to appoint an independent lithium focused engineering firm to undertake the revised feasibility study, which will include a front-end engineering and design to improve technical certainty and reduce execution risk in providing greater accuracy on equipment selection, sizing and resulting project economics,” it said.