BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
AUSTRALIA–LISTED mining concern, Prospect Resources, has started the process of finding a long-term partner for the funding and development of its flagship Arcadia Mine, a world-class asset on the outskirts of Harare.
The development comes after the Zimbabwe-focused lithium outfit successfully scaled up shareholding in Arcadia Mine to 87% in a deal worth just under US$1 million.
Following a review of various funding options, and in response to multiple enquiries recently received from a range of international parties in relation to funding and development of Arcadia, Prospect said its board had decided to commence a structured process whereby interested parties will have the opportunity to put forward partnership proposals in a competitive environment to fully fund the Arcadia project.
The board is prioritising the development of Arcadia through this partnership process over other funding options, to provide more flexibility, accelerate project execution and bring the project into production at the earliest possible, the company said in a statement Monday.
Azure Capital and Vermilion Partners have been appointed by Prospect to run this process.
Commenting on the development, Prospect managing director Sam Hosack said they were “excited with the interest from key players in the lithium sector and looked forward to working with Azure and Vermilion to find the right long-term partner for the funding and development of Arcadia Mine.”
Prospect acquired Arcadia in 2016.
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Meanwhile, Prospect revealed that the optimised feasibility study (OFS) for Arcadia was being advanced on a dual-track basis by leading engineering consulting group, Lycopodium Minerals.
It said the two development pathways under evaluation through the OFS process were a two-stage development to 2.4 Mtpa throughput, via progressive construction of two 1.2 Mtpa modules.
This approach provides a lower upfront capital pathway to production and allows project and market risks to be managed progressively.
It is also being advanced through a single-stage development to a 2.4 Mtpa throughput operation. This approach provides greater development efficiencies and higher economic returns, but with higher upfront capital requirements. Completion of the OFS on the two-stage development remains on track for the third quarter of 2021 while the single-stage OFS is now expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of this year.
Prospect this month revealed that it had identified two significantly-sized rare earth elements (REE) anomalies at its Chishanya Carbonatite Project in south-eastern Zimbabwe, the Dorowa area.
The fresh discovery gave the ambitious firm an opportunity to diversify into other high demand minerals.