Premier African Minerals (PREM.L) has released an updated resource calculation on its fully owned Zulu Lithium and Tantalum project in Zimbabwe. The Zulu project recently started production and the plant on site is producing concentrate from the Mica and Spodumene flotation sections. There are some initial teething problems that need to be addressed but Premier African seems confident it will be able to produce a concentrate with an average grade of just over 6% lithium.

The total resource estimate (based on in excess of 33,000 meters of drilling in 163 holes) currently contains almost 25 million tonnes of rock across all categories with a average grade of 0.42% lithium and 42.2 g/t tantalum for a total lithium content of 107,000 tonnes (which represents just under 600,000 tonnes of LCE – on a gross basis) while the total tantalum content exceeds one million kilograms (and at a price of approximately $200/kg the tantalum will provide a nice by-product credit). The lithium resource contains 1.8 million tonnes of 6% spodumene concentrate but we will obviously have to wait to see reliable recovery numbers once the plant has reached the desired capacity and performance. A recovery rate of 70% would result in a total of 1.25 million tonnes of spodumene concentrate. Also keep in mind there is some lepidolite in the resource while 25% of the rock is petalite where the metallurgical recovery process likely will be more intense.

Disclosure: The author has no position in Premier African. Please read the disclaimer.

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