PREMIER African Minerals Limited has announced a new mineral resource estimate (MRE) on its wholly-owned Zulu Lithium and Tantalum Project, which contains around 107 000 tonnes of the metal in the inferred and indicated categories.
In addition, there are over a thousand tonnes of tantalum (pentoxide) at Zulu, the resource outfit said in a shareholder update last week.
“This MRE supports the development of Zulu mine on an expedited basis. It underlines our confidence in the medium and long-term future of this mine and further supports our view that Zulu has the stand-alone potential to develop a lithium sulphate plant,” Premier chief executive officer George Roach said.
“Work continues in the greater EPO (exclusive prospecting order) area, and we have now identified areas of future potential mineralisation and secured those areas in the longer term under new mineral claims.”
Roach added: “It is worth noting that this MRE is based on an assumed 80% of the total Li2O (lithium oxide) grade of the ore body being attributable to the SQI (soil quality index) dominant style of mineralisation, which is conservative in our opinion and ongoing analysis of the mineral assemblage may support an increase in this percentage with potential increases in the contained spodumene.
“We have previously set out our expectation that Zulu is likely to produce spodumene concentrates with low iron and higher spodumene concentrate grades.”
The CEO said they were expecting to receive a premium for spodumene concentrates produced at Zulu and this would further support their determination to bring this plant into production now.
“While we do not have the ability to recover tantalite at present, relatively minor plant additions that are under consideration are expected to see production of Ta2O5 (tantalum pentoxide) concentrate in the future,” he said.
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“At the same time, I am pleased to note the arrival at site of all plant components and in particular the arrival and installation of the new ball mill. Assembly is expected to complete within the next weeks.
“Optimisation of the sorters is ongoing, and we expect the overall plant to be back in production during February 2024.”
The MRE is based on assay results from 163 drill holes totalling 33 258 metres drilled between September 2016 and the end of August 2023.
The exercise was carried out by an independent qualified person, Charles Muller of Shango Solutions.
The Zulu project is generally regarded as potentially the largest undeveloped lithium bearing pegmatite in Zimbabwe, covering a surface of about 3,5 square kilometres, which are prospectively for lithium and tantalum mineralisation.