THE London Stock Exchange-listed resources company, Red Rock Resources says it is negotiating with China-based buyers for a deal to export lithium from its Zimbabwean claims, as it scouts for a contract mining agreement.
China has emerged as the biggest market for Zimbabwean lithium, which is in high demand from the Asian giant’s electric vehicle (EV) battery makers.
Chinese multinationals have also trooped into the country to establish lithium mining units to feed into EV battery production lines.
In April, Prospect Lithium’s Goromonzi-based Arcadia mine kicked off exports from its US$275 million operation with a shipment to China.
Red Rock executes its Zimbabwean ambition through African Lithium Resources Limited (ALR), which presides over 51 hectares of lithium claims at Tin Hill, about 29 kilometres northwest of Bikita.
The firm holds 75% in ALR, which was established last year.
In a market update, Red Rock said parties to the lithium deal had agreed to draft Dirk Benade, a South African geologist, to evaluate the resource at ALR’s Zimbabwean assets.
Andrew Bell, chairperson at Red Rock, said the firm’s lithium export strategy would be vital for the business, which initially wanted to concentrate on sales to the domestic market.
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The firm is also discussing a contract mining deal, according to Bell.
“Discussion has begun with sales agents in China for sale of lithium ores, and a potential contract miner/partner has sent an experienced South African consultant geologist, who from 10th to 14th August with ALR personnel conducted due diligence at ALR's locations in Zimbabwe, said Bell.
"Regulatory changes over recent months mean that we are focussed on sales to the export market, which realise higher prices but require some combination of selective mining and beneficiation,” Bell said, as he shared developments at the firm with investors.
“Dirk comes to us highly recommended and his depth of experience and knowledge and international business background makes him a good complement to our enthusiastic local team,” Bell added.
ALR has been expanding its lithium portfolio in Zimbabwe.
In June, the firm said it was focusing on the advancement of the assets into small-scale production for the local market before kicking off exports.
It said a 125-hectare application for claims near Arcturus, 32 km east of Harare, had also been approved.
The company also applied for 107 hectares for another asset near Bikita.