China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt plans to invest $300 million on rapid development of a lithium mine and processing plant at its newly acquired Arcadia project in Zimbabwe, according to company documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
Huayou, one of the world’s biggest producers of cobalt, recently completed a $422 million purchase of the hard-rock lithium mine just outside Harare from Australia-listed Prospect Resources and other Zimbabwean minorities.
“We intend to develop the project rapidly over the next year and invest around $300 million to develop the mine and construct a process plant with a capacity to treat around 4.5 million tonnes of ore and produce 400,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate per annum,” Huayou subsidiary Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe said in an update on the project.
The Arcadia project is expected to deliver its first batch of lithium-bearing minerals spodumene and petalite in 2023, the company said.
Lithium prices have soared this year as carmakers have struggled to source the metal used in electric vehicle batteries.
Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe said it would employ 600 locals during the construction phase, with up to 900 jobs being created when production begins.
(By Nelson Banya; Editing by Helen Reid and David Goodman)