• Date: 2023
  • Address: Zimbabwe

Beatrice Lithium Project

MetalsGrove have two lithium projects in Zimbabwe, Arcturas and Beatrice Lithium Projects. The Beatrice project is located approximately 55km south of Harare.

The nature and location of the port of Beira is also a key advantage. A regional export hub located less than 600km from the licence area by road transport. The licence areas are very close to current existing road and access tracks.

Figure 1: Zimbabwe Lithium Projects Location Plan.
Figure 2: Beatrice lithium project location plan with pegmatite Band Trend within the Beatrice Lithium Project

Zimbabwe has a number of large lithium pegmatite deposits, including Bikita, Arcadia, Kamativi, Sandawana and Zulu.

The Bikita pegmatite in SE Zimbabwe has been mined periodically since tin was discovered in 1910, and mining of petalite (for lithium) started in the 1940s. The main product currently exported by Bikita Minerals is a graded petalite concentrate which is produced on site at the mine and chiefly sold for glass and ceramics. Tantalite concentrates have also been produced at the mine. As of 2021, Bikita is the only mine in Africa producing lithium, and currently that lithium is not used in battery supply chains. However, the Bikita mine area does contain spodumene pegmatites, which may contribute to the battery supply chain in the future.

The Arcadia pegmatite, east of Harare, has been explored by Prospect Resources since 2016. It has Southern Africa’s largest JORC-compliant lithium reserve and it is currently transitioning from exploration to development, with a pilot plant completed in June 2021 and producing petalite concentrate at the mine site. It is expected that spodumene concentrate will also eventually be produced at Arcadia. The project is close to a tarmac highway, and petalite concentrate will be transported to the port of Beira in Mozambique.

“The Arcadia lithium project located near Harare, Zimbabwe, is considered to be one of the world’s biggest hard rock lithium resources.” The lithological units found at the belt include meta-basalts, banded iron formations, meta-andesites, serpentinites, dolerites, and lithium-bearing pegmatites. The deposit is hosted within a series of stacked, subparallel petalite-spodumene bearing pegmatites, intruding the HGB. The drilling results identified pegmatites with an average thickness of 15m and extending up to 3.5km along strike.

The Arcadia Lithium Project is located on Nhaka Valley Estate District. The site is situated 38km east of Harare and 9km east of now defunct Arcturus gold mine and close to MGA Arcturus lithium project.

The Kamativi pegmatite, in north-western Zimbabwe, was mined for tin from 1936 to 1994, but lithium minerals were never extracted. The tailings piles at Kamativi have been explored for lithium by Zimbabwe Lithium and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, and there is also potential for further exploration in the hard-rock extent of the pegmatite, beyond what has already been mined.

The Zulu pegmatite, 80 km from Bulawayo, is under exploration by Premier African Minerals, which also owns a series of smaller lithium pegmatite prospects in eastern Zimbabwe.

Figure 3: Current Active Lithium Mines in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Craton is an area in Southern Africa of ancient continental crust, being a part of the ancient continent of Western Gondwana, with rocks dating back to the early Archean Eon, possibly as early as 3.46 billion years ago (Ga.).[1] The craton is named after the country of Zimbabwe where the majority of the craton is. The rocks of the Zimbabwe Craton are separated from the rocks of the Kaapvaal Craton to the southeast by the 250 kilometres (160 mi) wide Limpopo Belt of granulite facies tectonites. The Limpopo belt formed contemporaneously with the Zimbabwe and Kaapvaal cratons but remained geologically active until much later. It was only in the late Archean, ca. 2.8-2.5 Ga., that the two cratons were stabilized together and that high-grade metamorphism ceased in the Limpopo Belt. North of the Zimbabwe Craton is the Zambezi Belt.

Greenstone belts are zones of variably metamorphosed mafic to ultramafic volcanic sequences with associated sedimentary rocks that occurs within Archaean and Proterozoic cratons between granite and gneiss bodies. The name comes from the green hue imparted by the colour of the metamorphic minerals within the mafic rocks: the typical green minerals are chlorite, actinolite, and other green amphiboles. Greenstone belts also often contain ore deposits of gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead in addition to lithium. A greenstone belt is typically several dozens to several thousand kilometres long and although composed of a great variety of individual rock units, is considered a ‘stratigraphic grouping’ in its own right, at least on continental scales.

The Beatrice project is located close to the Joyse Gold mine. It is a well-known pegmatite camp in the area that is mineralised in lithium, lepidolite, tantalum and caesium. The recent rock chip sample assay results returned at Beatrice is up to 2.5Li2O.

In total 12 surface rock samples were collected from this claim. The project has an exploration potential for a lithium resource. The pegmatite outcrops at and near the surface. These samples were sent to Peacock & Simpson Laboratory in Harare office for sample analysis. The Analysis is listed in the table below:

Photo 4: Lepidolite sample from Historical Trench.
Photo 5: Pegmatite outcrop within the trench work.
Photo 6: Pegmatite outcrop within the trench and its partially weather.
Photo 7: Lithium rocks picked from the historical tech work.

Extensive exploration and mining activities were carried out within the project area. Based on the Company’s review of existing publicly available information (including historic exploration, trenching and production history) the prospect has the potential for a large tonne open cut mine.