Harare (New Ziana) – Australian listed mining firm, Prospect Resources, which is developing the Arcadia lithium mine just outside Harare, says it has discovered a high value and rare mineral called caesium which is primarily used in high pressure oil and gas drilling.
Caesium is a soft, gold-coloured metal that can be used as a drilling fluid, to make special optical glass, as a catalyst promoter, in vacuum tubes and in radiation monitoring equipment.
The mineral is also used in the ‘caesium clock’ (atomic clock), which are a vital part of the internet and mobile phone networks, as well as Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites.
Prospect said the discovery followed tests done in South Africa on soil samples that had been taken from a block of three mining claims, covering some 50 hectares.
“Prospect Resources is pleased to announce the presence of significant caesium concentrations in soil, from a number of satellite bodies to Arcadia, notably the Shabaash. The identified caesium occurs within pollucite, a high value rare caesium mineral that forms in extremely differentiated Lithium-Caesium-Tantalum pegmatite systems,” the company said.
“Global supply (of caesium) is very constrained.”
Prospect is now planning further exploration to confirm the scale and grade of the deposits.
“Although no statements as to the dimension and grade of the mineralisation can be made until it is followed up by trenching and/ or drilling; the presence of pollucite is highly encouraging. There is increasing evidence for large scale mineral zonation around the periphery of the 4.5 km long Arcadia petalite-spodumene mineralisation. The implications for the proceptivity of the greater Arcadia area, for hidden deposits are immense,” Prospect said.
Most of the world’s caesium is mined in Canada and the United States.
The discovery of the mineral and subsequent exploitation could boost the country’s plans of transforming the mining sector into a $12 billion industry.
Zimbabwe has a huge and highly diversified mineral resource base with about 60 minerals whose commercial profitability has been proven.
Some of the minerals found in Zimbabwe include gold, platinum, chrome, diamonds and iron.