First petalite product delivered to Sinomine from pilot plant


Prospect Resources officially opens Arcadia Pilot Plant. (Credit: Prospect Resources Ltd)

Prospect Resources Ltd (ASX: PSC, FRA:5E8) (“Prospect” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce that it has successfully delivered a ceremonial sample of product from the Arcadia Pilot Plant to offtake partner and shareholder, Sinomine Resources. The delivery was made on-site at a ceremony hosted by the Minister of State for Mashonaland East, Honourable Aplonia Munzverengwi with the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Honourable Winston Chitando, as the Guest of Honour.

Prospect Managing Director, Sam Hosack, said: “Yesterday was a significant and memorable achievement for Prospect – demonstrating our ability to successfully deliver the pilot plant project by producing petalite in Zimbabwe. The close proximity of the Arcadia Project to the country’s capital, Harare, provides significant advantages, which have already been utilised to successfully execute on the Pilot Plant project through development and into production.

“Continued support from our parent Ministry of Mines and Mining Development led by the Honourable Minister Winston Chitando, has enabled us to achieve this important milestone on the path to full scale development of Arcadia and commercial production. We are a team made up of Zimbabweans, with a deep determination to get Arcadia funded and operational. The Special Economic Zone license, and the close integration and alignment we enjoy with Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) has been critical to the success of the Pilot Plant and is expected to make a material difference to our ability to fund the Arcadia Project.

“With the Arcadia Pilot Plant in production, the team are now focused on generating high purity on specification technical grade petalite to showcase Arcadia’s petalite to the largest customers in the global glass and ceramics markets. The petalite produced in operation will be independently assayed for quality assurance. The final qualification gate we are set to pass through should deliver customers confidence that Arcadia can deliver a high quality, long life raw material source for both petalite and spodumene supply chains.”

The Company plans to produce, and then ship sizeable volumes of technical grade petalite product to both Sibelco and Sinomine for on-delivery to customers across Europe and Asia, where Arcadia’s petalite is set to be utilised by customers in their respective production runs to provide product qualification processes through the second half of 2021.

Whilst petalite samples are being produced from the Pilot Plant, additional Arcadia spodumene samples being prepared by a third-party lab, Geolabs, are nearing completion. The production of spodumene is not required from a pilot plant stage as the DFS flowsheet is standard and fully derisked for spodumene production. The Company is progressing engagement with a range of strategic groups from across Japan, China and Europe who have an interest in securing spodumene offtake and assisting with development of the Arcadia Project.

Details of the Pilot Plant Programme

Prospect Resources undertook extensive metallurgical testwork over the period 2017-2020 to optimise Dense Media Separation (DMS) recovery efficiency and product quality. A key outcome of the testwork supported a split DMS concept in which coarse and fines fractions are treated separately using a two-stage DMS consisting of ‘rougher’ and ‘cleaner’ steps with the coarse fraction targeted at producing technical grade product.

The Arcadia pilot plant design accordingly embraced the technical study outcomes and implemented a 2-stage crushing plant and a single DMS plant capable of producing technical grade petalite products. A coarse fraction of size envelope 5mm x 1.7mm was selected as the optimum crush size for recovery of technical grade petalite product. The pilot plant can also be repurposed to process the fines fraction (<1.7mm) and produce chemical grade petalite product.

The pilot plant first ore feed came from the blasted section of the main pegmatite (MP) ore body which constitutes >16% of the Arcadia total ore body and based on the 2.4Mtpa DFS size pit development, more than 31% of the first 5 years ore supply will be from the MP ore body.

Source: Company Press Release