Africa’s geologically prospective regions and abundant natural resources make it an attractive destination for investment.
With the increasing demand for minerals like lithium in clean energy technologies, Africa is witnessing the launch of large-scale projects aiming to become a global lithium hub and benefit from the energy transition trends.
Goulamina Mine, Mali: 831,000 tpa
Representing the first hard rock lithium mine in West Africa, the Goulamina mine – located near Bamako, the capital city of Mali – ranks as one of the world’s largest spodumene projects.
Developed by Leo Lithium – a joint venture between global lithium chemical producer Ganfeng and mineral company Firefinch (formerly Birimian) – the mine’s 27-month development program is well underway, with first concentrate targeted for early 2024. Development is being undertaken through a two-phase approach, with Stage 1 targeting the production of 506,000 tons per annum (tpa) of concentrate and Stage 2 targeting 831,000 tpa. To date, the first stage of the project is fully funded.
Manono Mine, DRC: 700,000 tpa
Located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Manono Mine is an open-pit project boasting an estimated 93 million tons of reserves. Lying within the mid-Proterozoic Kibaran Belt, a scoping study was released in 2018 kickstarting the development of the mine. While production was initially targeted at 410,000 tpa of lithium concentrate, revised studies have increased this target to approximately 700,000 tpa. In 2022, the mine’s developer AVZ Minerals announced that the company was moving ahead with the early works program with first spodumene concentrate planned for late 2023. However, progress has been delayed due to disputes regarding the mine’s ownership.
Bikita Mine, Zimbabwe: 412,000 tpa
Located in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo Province, the Bikita Mine represents the largest-known lithium deposit worldwide, with reserves measured at 11 million tons. With operations dating back six decades, the Bikita Mine represents the only major producing lithium mine in operation in Africa, producing an average 60,000 tpa since 1950. In 2023, the mine’s operator Sinomine Resource Group announced plans to increase the production of lithium concentrate to approximately 412,000 tons per year following a $200 million investment announced last year.
Arcadia Mine, Zimbabwe: 400,000 tpa
Representing the world’s biggest hard rock lithium resources, the Arcadia Mine is an open-pit project located near Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare. Previously owned by Australia’s Prospect Resources, China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt acquired the mine in 2022 for $422 million. With a mine life of 18 years, estimated production is measured at 400,000 tpa of lithium concentrate. In March 2023, Huayou commenced trial production.
Ewoyaa Mine, Ghana: 225,000 tpa
The Ewoyaa Mine, located approximately 100km south-west of the capital city of Accra, represents the first lithium producing mine in Ghana. Developed by Atlantic Lithium, the project aims to exploit the Ewoyaa, Abonko and Kaampakrom deposits in Western Ghana. A pre-feasibility study was conducted in September 2022, determining a mine life of 12.5 years with an initial capital investment of $125 million. Estimated to hold 18.9 million tons of probable ore, first production is targeted for Q3, 2024, with output measured at up to 225,000 tpa.