Chinese mining conglomerate Sinomine Resource Group has completed the construction of a dual lithium processing plant at the group’s 10.8-million-ton Bikita mine in Zimbabwe. Commissioned in January 2022 following the Chinese group’s acquisition of the mine in a $180 million transaction, the plant will produce up to 300,000 metric tons of spodumene concentrate and 480,000 tons of petalite per year. The processing facility comprises a Gravity Separation Plant and a Flotation plant, enabling the mine to start processing spodumene while increasing the production of petalite from the current 50,000 tons per year.
Its completion follows a $200 million investment made by Sinomine in 2022 to expand operations at the mine while developing new production lines.
“The new Gravity separation plant (petalite) with an annual capacity of two million tons (petalite concentrate) was initiated by the company through its own funds and raised capital, with construction work starting in 2022 based on the existing beneficiation of the plant at the Bikita mine. The newly constructed Floatation plant (spodumene) also comes with an annual capacity of two million tons (spodumene concentrate),” stated a press release by Bikita Minerals.
The milestone represents part of efforts by the country to consolidate its position as a regional lithium hub and by China to develop new mineral supply chains in Africa.