Lithium in Africa: Another sleeping giant!

Exploration activities
© Arcadia Minerals

Exploration activities
© Arcadia Minerals
Many Germans associate Africa chiefly with chaos, war and hunger. But in the past ten years, many countries on the continent have shown stability. In particular, the West African nations have established themselves as an investment destination ranked alongside progressive and stable African states such as South Africa, Namibia or Morocco. For example, the west of the continent is showing the greatest growth in gold production and, as a region, has even overtaken South Africa a few years ago, according to data from the World Gold Council.

But Africa offers much more than gold. Classical industrial raw materials such as copper, zinc, nickel or lead were not exploited here to the same extent as on other continents. There is a simple reason for this: while an industrial revolution took place in Europe, North America and parts of Asia over the past 250 years and local resources have been mined, this process actually only took place in the very south of the Cape State in Africa. And even there, there are still significantly more metals than in large parts of Europe.

Accordingly, for some years there has been a run on African deposits. In West Africa, for example, gold producers from Canada and Russia have come flocking. Australian companies have a strong presence in the southern sector. The main focus is on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kamoa-Kakula is the seventh largest copper mine in the world. The company only started two years ago. Kamoa-Kakula will mine more than 600 000 tons of metal ore by 2027, making it the third largest copper mine in the world, according to plans by owners Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining.

Tantalum ore from a bulk sample at the Swanson project being processed for recovery testing
© Arcadia Minerals

Tantalum ore from a bulk sample at the Swanson project being processed for recovery testing
© Arcadia Minerals
But the importance of Africa in lithium is also likely to increase. But there is still little to be seen. In 2022, Zimbabwe joined the ranks of the producing countries with 800 t. This puts the country well behind Australia (61 000 t), Chile (39 000 t) and China (19 000 t). This is according to data from the US Geological Survey (USGS).

But what the data does not show is the potential of Africa. Many deposits have not been studied at all. And there are still very few projects in the lithium sector. Wang Xiaoshen may also have alluded to this when he recently put questions to the analyst team at Benchmark Minerals Intelligence. Xiaoshen is the CEO of Ganfeng Lithium, the third largest lithium player in the world. The manager sees Africa as the next great way to discover lithium deposits. In addition to the still undiscovered deposits, low production costs are also attractive in Africa.

However, there are already a few companies active in the lithium sector on the continent. This includes Arcadia Minerals. The Australians have secured various projects in Namibia. The focus will also be on lithium deposits. The company already has a lithium project in the pipeline with bitter water, which is already being explored. Arcadia Minerals already owns a JORC-compliant mineral resource with 286 909 t of lithium carbonate at a cut-off content of 500 ppm. However, only one of 14 lithium deposits on the property has been explored so far. Accordingly, there is great potential to significantly expand the resource.

In addition to the Bitterwasser project, the development of the Swanson project also offers opportunities for investors with Arcadia Minerals. Swanson is the most developed project in the portfolio. With this tantalum deposit, the company has already attracted the interest of the Chinese HeBei Xinjian Construction Group. Possible purchase agreements and/or strategic partnerships are currently being negotiated. Since HeBei has already entered the neighbouring Homestead tantalum and lithium mine, one should have a great interest in Swanson and even a purchase of the deposit cannot be ruled out. The deposit is considered one of the highest-grade in the world and, like Homestead, also contains lithium in addition to tantalum.

www.arcadiaminerals.global

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