HARARE, May 24 (Xinhua) -- China's Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt said Tuesday it will invest around 300 million U.S. dollars to develop the Arcadia hard-rock lithium mine in Zimbabwe which it recently acquired from the Australian-listed Prospect Resources.
The investment will also be used to construct a process plant with a capacity to treat around 4.5 million metric tonnes of ore and produce 400,000 metric tonnes of lithium concentrate per annum, the company said.
Huayou Cobalt completed the purchase of the Arcadia lithium project, located 40 km outside the capital Harare, in April this year after acquiring a 100 percent stake in the mine for 422 million U.S. dollars.
"We intend to develop the project rapidly over the next year and invest around 300 million U.S. dollars 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," the company said in a statement.
The company added: "This will be a massive shot in the arm for the Zimbabwean economy and contribute towards achieving the National Development Strategy Vision 1 set out by the government."
The company said its investment will also assist Zimbabwe in attaining the projected 12 billion mining economy by 2023.
Huayou said the deal, which made Zimbabwe's biggest investment in lithium, sets the project on course for a big upturn that will see the country take its position on the global renewable value chain through battery and electric vehicle manufacture.
It said at least 600 locals will be employed during the construction phase, with figures rising to between 700 and 900 when production goes into gear.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has since lauded the partnership between Huayou Cobalt and Prospect Resources, saying the deal will further unlock Zimbabwe's mining potential.
"As a country with one of the largest lithium reserves in Africa, we are poised to become a hub for research, development, exploitation and manufacturing of green energy and lithium-based solutions," Mnangagwa said. ■