Aim-listed Premier African Minerals has concluded the definitive transaction documents in respect of the marketing and prepayment agreement with Suzhou TA&A, and is in receipt of about $18.1-million of the prepayment required to have been paid to date.
The funds will be used for the Zulu plant fabricators and site contractors at the Zulu lithium project in Zimbabwe.
Fabrication and site construction is well under way.
As previously set out in the binding heads of terms announced in June, under the terms of the agreement entered into between Premier and Suzhou TA&A, the latter has agreed to buy, in advance, $34.6-million of product to be sold by Premier to enable the construction and commissioning of a large-scale pilot plant at the Zulu project and, to date, Suzhou TA&A has made about $18.1-million available to Premier.
“I am pleased to confirm the signing of this agreement and the receipt of funds. Fabrication, site design and construction are under way and projected commencement of commercial production is now scheduled for the first quarter of 2023. The prepayment is expected to be fully offset against future shipments inside of 12 months at the prevailing SC6 pricing.
“We have recently appointed independent project and construction management teams to assist in ensuring compliance with timelines and budgets. At the same time, there has been an improved turnaround in assays and we expect to release significant results as they come to hand,” says CEO George Roach.
The pilot plant to be commissioned will use sensor-based ore sorting technologies that will facilitate the separation of run-of-mine material into components and, in so doing, likely increase available capacity in the flotation recovery circuits, where lithium minerals are recovered, Premier points out.
Ultimate production and recoveries are a factor of many variables and the pilot plant is likely to assist in dealing with these variables owing to the inherent flexibility of the use of multiple ore sorters, the company adds.
Stockpiles of tantalum, petalite and mica/lepidolite-rich material will facilitate further test work and flow sheet development to ensure that this material is truly inventory for later profitable recovery, the company notes.
The pilot plant has a nameplate throughput of up to 190 t/h; however, it is planned to run at a more conservative 140 t/h at inception.
At this rate and based on a three-year life, the company believes this is a robust project and expects to become cash generative from the time of the first shipment.