Premier spends US$75m on lithium plant

Source: Premier spends US$75m on lithium plant -Newsday Zimbabwe

RESOURCE outfit Premier African Minerals has invested approximately US$75 million in the development of the Zulu lithium and tantalum project, located near Bulawayo, according to chief executive officer George Roach.

The mining firm, with a diverse portfolio of projects in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, is currently finalising the installation of a flotation plant at the Zulu project.


“Premier sincerely hope the conditioning tank will be the last plant modification and on that note, the board remains confident regarding the prospects for Zulu and we note that at this time, the development of Zulu, a complete mine, has cost the company the better part of US$75 million and neither this nor the deemed valuation of Zulu agreed with our take-off partner is reflected in our current market capitalisation,” Roach said in a market update.

He disclosed that the conditioning tank delivery and commissioning remains on track for completion during the week commencing July 10, while sale of concentrates on hand is now expected to proceed on an ex-mine gate basis.

“The lower grade concentrates will now be sold (conditional on independent laboratory analysis underway in South Africa) on an ex-mine gate basis, free on truck from Zulu and payment will be made immediately once the conditions have been met,” the company said.

“Zulu will not be expected to deliver production to port, nor will Zulu be required to outlay transport and shipping costs. This will provide a small cash flow benefit.”

The company said it was only possible to optimise the flotation circuits when Zulu was able to feed the plant at design capacity.

It said this was achieved only after the Zulu team was able to resolve the design deficiencies associated with classification of milled material.

“It is remarkable and a tribute to our Zulu team and Enprotec as OEM [original equipment manufacturer] for the float plant, that the company was able to identify this conditioning tank as essential and to have this ordered and expected to be installed and commissioned by July 10, 2024,” it noted.

“While the company will review the overall plant in some detail in the annual financial statements due for release on June 28, 2024, it would be remiss not to correct certain misunderstandings by some shareholders in respect of Zulu’s plant, pit development and water.”

The firm noted that test work for the correct sorter solution had commenced.

It said in the interim, careful management of the pit and ongoing inspection of run of mine ore will suffice.

Premier accepts a small percentage of ore from other claims it has registered within its exclusive prospecting order area from a local miner, and this is complementary to in-pit mining at Zulu as well as offering employment to local communities.

“Zulu is not dependent on this supply. Pit development is ongoing and as reported previously, in situ grades in the pit exceed the grades declared in Zulu’s independent resource estimate in those areas Zulu has taken ore from,” it said.

The company increased the return water recovery from Zulu’s tailings dam and reconfigured in-plant process water reticulation, including the installation of the thickener. It also constructed an additional large capacity reservoir at the plant.