Kuvimba Mine Strikes Gold in Lithium Reserves

February 25, 2024
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Kuvimba has ambitious plans to position it as one of the world's largest lithium producers

In an exclusive revelation, the Zimbabwe Independent reports that Sandawana Mines, under the ownership of Kuvimba Mining House, is positioned atop an estimated 100 million tonnes of lithium, solidifying its status as one of the largest lithium assets globally.

Lithium, a critical component in batteries and electronic devices, is witnessing increasing demand, especially in electric vehicle manufacturing and large-scale battery storage. Despite Zimbabwe holding Africa’s largest lithium reserves and ranking fifth globally, the resource has largely remained untapped due to insufficient investment.

Currently, there are about eight lithium exploration and mining projects at various stages of development in Zimbabwe, including Sandawana Mines. Kuvimba, wholly owned by the government, announced a significant investment of over US$50 million in an exploration program, enlisting Chinese and local firms for the exploration process.

An insider shared exclusive details with Zimbabwe Independent, disclosing that the lithium purity stands at approximately 1.4%, exceeding international standards. The exploration, divided into phases, has completed the first phase, revealing an estimated 40 million tonnes of lithium-containing ore.

The company, now part of the Mutapa Investment Fund, is expected to yield 550,000 tonnes of concentrates, translating to a potential annual income of US$250 million. The first phase, which employed over 1,000 locals, focused on manual mining, while the upcoming phases involve mechanization and automation.

Revenue projections are subject to international prices, but the company anticipates generating significant income. Currently mining only 1% of the total area, Sandawana Mines has already stockpiled over 900,000 tonnes of high-grade lithium ore.

Seeking potential partners for further development, the company aims to establish a mining processing plant with a capacity to process three million tonnes of concentrate. The insider mentioned plans to export the concentrate initially and eventually produce lithium sulphate domestically.

To fund the project, the company is actively seeking partnerships and requires between US$220 million and US$250 million. The implementation timeline is estimated at 24 months upon securing funding. The project is expected to employ more than 1,500 people.

Having taken over Sandawana Mines in 2019, Kuvimba has ambitious plans to position it as one of the world’s largest lithium producers. The mine, once owned by Rio Tinto, boasts rich mineral resources, including tantalite, copper, and gold, in addition to lithium.