PROSPECT Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ) said on Thursday it was due to begin exports from Arcadia, its new Zimbabwean operation near Harare, following the completion of a US$275 million processing facility.
In an address to staff to mark the first year of Prospect’s Chinese controlling shareholders at the mine, the firm said while lithium prices had declined, production was due to commence soon.
Prospect general manager Henry Zhu was upbeat about the company’s prospects, as well as the upcoming commissioning of the plant.
“On the international market, the prices of lithium have gone down significantly in the last few months,” Zhu told staff at the operation, about 60 kilometres east of Harare. “Work is being done on the ground for the company to start exporting products in the near future.”
Prospect chairperson George Fang said the company was now ready for production following a year-long groundwork.
“We look forward to the commissioning of our plant in due course and officially commencing the task of production,” Fang said.
The construction phase for the plant began in May 2022 and ended in January 2023.
Fang said this was a record in itself.
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“We embarked on this journey last year, on April 20 2022, when our parent company, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Company Limited, acquired the PLZ asset and began building one of the world’s most sophisticated plants for the processing of hard rock lithium mineral resource,” he said. “At inception, we called on local communities to take up employment opportunities and this prioritisation resulted in hundreds of people being employed from local villages and wards in Goromonzi District, while people with varying skills came from all over the country.”
Fang said Prospect’s investment in Zimbabwe had placed the country on the global map of renewable energy and technology value chains.
Prospect is owned by Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Company Limited.
Huayou was founded in 2002 and over the past two decades the company has become a multinational corporation with a revenue base of more than US$48 billion, ranking it among the top 500 enterprises in China.
Huayou consists of an integrated industrial structure made up of resources, smelting and material recycling, and constructed an operation of overseas resources, domestic and global manufacturing.