According to corporate documents reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday, China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt aims to invest $300 million in the quick building of a lithium mine and processing plant at its newly acquired Arcadia property in Zimbabwe.
Huayou, one of the world’s largest cobalt producers, recently finalized a $422 million purchase of the hard-rock lithium mine near Harare from Prospect Resources, an Australian company, and other Zimbabwean minorities.
The first batch of lithium-bearing minerals spodumene and petalite from the Arcadia project is planned to be delivered in 2023, according to the company.
Lithium prices have risen sharply this year due to a scarcity of the metal used in electric vehicle batteries.
In an update on the project, Huayou subsidiary Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe said, “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.”
Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe has stated that it will employ 600 Zimbabweans during construction, with up to 900 employment expected once production begins.