Mutare Lithium Project
In 2022, Li3 Lithium acquired a 50% interest in Li3 Resources Inc. (“Li3 Resources”), a private, lithium focused exploration company founded and backed by senior mining executives with prior success in the lithium industry. Li3 Resources has entered into a binding joint-venture agreement to acquire up to a 50% interest in the Mutare Lithium Project (the “Mutare Lithium Project”) from London AIM-listed Premier African Minerals Limited.
The Mutare Lithium Project consists of 1,500 hectares of licenses within the Mutare Greenstone Belt of Zimbabwe, located close to the eastern border with Mozambique. The area was deemed prospective for lithium-cesium-tantalum (LCT) type pegmatites based on prior target generation work. Management believes the lithium exploration potential of the Mutare Greenstone Belt is analogous to that of the Pilbara Craton pegmatites in Western Australia.
- Zimbabwe holds Africa’s largest lithium reserves, the fifth-largest globally.
- Zimbabwe’s producing Bikita Spodumene Lithium Mine, is ranked the 5th largest global supplier of lithium, petalite and tantalite, with estimated ore reserves of 29.41 million tons.
- Over the 12-month period to September 2022, Chinese battery metals interests invested US$1.4 billion in Zimbabwe’s lithium mining and processing industry.
- Major Chinese battery metals companies acquiring hard rock lithium assets in Zimbabwe include: Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, Sinomine Resources, Suzhou TA&A Ultra Clean Technology, and Chengxin Lithium Group.
- The Port of Beira, Mozambique, the Gateway to Zimbabwe, is 7,907 nautical miles from the Port of Shanghai, China.
Zimbabwe is estimated to hold Africa’s largest lithium reserves but due to a lack of investment has remained relatively underdeveloped. During the second half of 2022, a US$550,000 exploration program commenced on the Mutare Lithium Project to be executed over 3 phases:
PHASE 1 – Resource Identification
PHASE 2 – Resource Delineation
PHASE 3 – Resource Development
The Mutare Lithium Project is located in a region in Zimbabwe that is now receiving significant interest. The claim blocks are well located and, in several instances, have attracted interest from international lithium producers, which is expected to further expand interest and investment in the region.
Chinese Investment in Lithium in Zimbabwe
Over the 12-month period to September 2022, Chinese companies and investors invested approximately US$1.4 billion in Zimbabwe’s lithium industry. The major Chinese battery metals companies acquiring hard rock lithium assets in Zimbabwe include: ZHejiang Huayou Cobalt, Sinomine Resources, Suzhou TA&A Ultra Clean Technology, and Chengxin Lithium Group.
Furthermore, in September 2022, Zimbabwe approved a proposal by a group of Chinese investors to establish a US$2.83 billion battery-metals district to process battery metals including lithium. The 5,000-hectare integrated battery metals district scheduled to be constructed by 2025, is expected to be the first-of-its-kind “mine to energy” industrial park, including two 300MW power stations and a US$450 lithium processing plant.