A Chinese company will ramp up production of lithium – a vital element in batteries for electric vehicles – with a $300 million investment in Zimbabwe.
Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt said it plans a rapid development of a mine and processing plant at its newly acquired Arcadia project, company documents show.
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 Australian majority owner Prospect Resources.
“We intend 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’s subsidiary Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe said.
The Arcadia project is expected to deliver its first batch of spodumene and petalite – lithium-bearing minerals – 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.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell