Kamativi lithium drilling kicks off

Kamativi lithium drilling kicks off
Published: 06 April 2018
CANADIAN-based mineral exploration company, Chimata Gold Corp, has commenced drilling works at the Kamativi lithium project in Matabeleland North Province.

The lithium deal is expected to unlock more than $1,4 billion over the next few years and is part of the Government's 100-day programme that is set to create about 500 jobs and has huge significance to the local economy, especially for downstream and upstream industries.

"Chimata Gold Corp announces that it has commenced drilling at the Kamativi Lithium Tailings Project in Zimbabwe. Drilling is being conducted in order to further define the scope of the lithium deposit on the property, and to understand the economic viability and value of the potential mineral resource," chairman and interim chief executive, Mr Richard Groome, said.

He said in a statement that the initial auger drilling was fully funded and the programme was based on nominal 100m x 100m drill hole spacing, comprising a total of 1 500m of drilling over 75 drill holes covering the project footprint.

"Drilling is being undertaken by local Zimbabwean contractor Optimum Drilling Pvt Ltd. The company has engaged MSA to provide independent resource evaluation and oversight on the programme," said Mr Groome.

Prices of lithium have more than doubled in the past two years on forecasts for massive demand from the electric vehicle industry, which has sparked work on a flurry of new mines and expansion plans for existing ones. Zimbabwe is considered to be the fifth-largest lithium producer in the world after Australia, Argentina, Chile and China, although presently it produces only a fraction of the worldwide total output.

According to Mr Groome, results stemming from the successful drilling programme will add significant, and much more comprehensive information to the project's existing database. The project comprises a tailings deposit that accumulated over the approximately 40-year life of the Kamativi Tin Mine prior to its closure in 1994, he said.

Chimata also reported that through its local partners, it has engaged local environmental consultants Green Resources Pvt Ltd to carry out a baseline environmental assessment of the project area concurrent with the auger and assaying

programme. The company's involvement in the project came about after a lengthy discussion and evaluation process by the board of directors and new local partners in Zimbabwe Lithium Company.

"It was determined that Chimata should leverage its technical knowledge and wide array of international contacts to locate – and ultimately acquire - projects that are highly prospective in areas that are under-explored and under-developed, and that also address a supply side need in electric vehicle battery metals," said Mr Groome.

China is among the largest consumers and suppliers of lithium as it relates to electric vehicles and accounted for more than half of global sales last year.

Chimata projects that Chinese companies would lead much of the lithium drive, given the growth of sales in China and the potential size of the North American and European markets as they mature.

Since the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe last November, the new Government led by President Mnangagwa has moved swiftly to engage the local and international business community under the "Zimbabwe is Open for Business", mantra. The investment reform processes have started bearing fruit evidenced by increased inquiries with the mining sector as the major beneficiary.

"The result is that there is far less political and investment instability associated with the new Government and its willingness to seek capital to rejuvenate the country's natural resource potential," said Mr Groome.

He said Chimata was enthused with the support of its local partners and Government, particularly Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando, and the local joint venture partners in the development of the Kamativi Lithium Project. Two months ago, Zimbabwe hosted a Mining Conference in Harare which was well attended with delegates from around the world. The increasing focus on lithium in Zimbabwe was one of the highlights of the conference and resulted in the Kamativi Lithium Project being put on the "100-days Rapid Results Initiative" created by the new Government to expedite the development of mining projects in Zimbabwe.

The new Government has been very open in its positive view of lithium and other battery related metals and sent a Government delegation to visit the site in order to view the drilling activities and show its support for the project. Chimata Gold Corp is a Canadian-based mineral exploration company focused on the acquisition and exploration of significant properties of merit in highly prospective areas of known mineralised potential and historical production.

- online
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