Construction of the $165 million Arcadia Lithium Mine plant is set to begin within the next three months, it has been learnt.
Government recently granted the mining project special economic zone (SEZ) status, which naturally entitles it to various tax exemptions.
The designation also makes it easier for the junior mining company, which is owned by Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)-listed Prospect Resources, to import raw materials and capital goods.
Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ) executive director Mr Paul Chimbodza said recently construction of the process plant is expected to begin in June this year.
PLZ is a unit of Prospect Resources.
“Conditional to finance, the company expects to commence construction of the process plant in June 2019, with the plant expected to be commissioned in November 2020,” said Mr Chimbodza.
“We are working closely with the Government and the local community to develop positive outcomes for the country and the region.
“So far, we have completed preliminary work on site such as the contractors’ camp and fencing, but the bulk of the construction is expected to follow once the project is fully funded and we are currently in discussions with potential financiers to the project,” he said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the venture, which has a mine life of 20 years, in Goromonzi last year.
Separately, Prospect Resources executive director Mr Harry Greaves said production was expected to commence in the last quarter of next year.
“Production is expected to ramp up over the first year as the company normalises its operations.
“Prospect Resources is positioned to be the leading producer of lithium in Africa and the largest producer of low-iron petalite concentrate in the world.
“We are focused on empowering the communities in areas we operate and provide up to 700 jobs directly and indirectly.”
Demand for the mineral has been progressively rising owing to growing demand for electronic vehicles, which use lithium-ion batteries.
However, low-iron petalite concentrate is used in the manufacture of glass, ceramic and cookware.