The Xiangyuan mine is a large, low-grade, hard-rock, lithium-containing polymetallic mine rarely seen in China. The project has licenses for a throughput of 300Ktpa of lepidolite, allowing for rapid project development.
The mine is characterized by porphyry mineralization, with mostly greisen mineralization and nearly all the rocks mineralized. Total ROM is estimated at 300 million tonnes and the ore body is a giant, thick single column. It is formed at shallow depth and open-pit mining can be used. Mineralization anomalies in the deep and peripheral areas are significant, indicating significant potential for reserve increases.
The mine is to be developed through large-scale, open-pit mining with a planned throughput of 10 million tonnes per annum. The annual production is set at 60,000-70,000 tonnes of LCE with by-products including rubidium, tungsten, and tin, among others. A lithium smelter will be constructed for the mine.
As a first step, the mine will re-commission its existing 300Ktpa extraction and concentration system. With more resources upgraded to reserves, the mine could increase the throughput capacity to 15Mtpa. The mine will be built in phases in line with the progress of license and permit handling.
On June 29, 2022, Zijin Mining announced its acquisition of a 71.1391% equity interest in Hunan Houdao Mining Co., Ltd., which holds a 100% interest in the Xiangyuan Lithium-containing Polymetallic Mine, for approximately RMB 1.8 billion. Further, Zijin will sign an agreement with the shareholders and beneficial owners holding the remaining 28.8609% equity interest in Houdao Mining, whereby both parties agree to develop the mine in the name of Houdao Mining and establish a joint venture to manage a new lithium smelter. As a result, Zijin Mining will eventually hold a 66% interest in the mine and a 34% interest in the smelter, and will lead the mine’s development, construction and operation.