Will Mali become the first producer of lithium in West Africa?
A race against time is being played out between Ghana and Mali for the production of lithium. But Mali is well-positioned to become the first country to produce the precious metal in West Africa.
Mali, the future first producer of lithium in West Africa! In any case, this is the projection made for 2024. Two companies, which involve one Australian, Firefinch Limited, and one Chinese, Ganfeng Lithium, are behind the Goulamina lithium project in Mali.
The mine is expected to cost a whopping US$255 million to build. The mine will eventually produce an average of 726,000 tonnes per year of spodumene concentrate for 21 years, with an annual peak of up to 880,000 tonnes.
Initially scheduled to become operational in 2023, the Goulamina mine will finally be operational in 2024. With its entry into operation, Mali will become one of the producers of lithium, this rare metal, and the first producer in West Africa. The Atlantic Lithium company also develops the Ewoyaa project in Ghana. However, the Malian project is still ahead of the one underway in Ghana.
Lithium is a rare and highly sought-after metal because it is used in the manufacture of batteries, smartphones, and electric vehicles.
In Africa, Zimbabwe remains for the moment the only producer of the precious metal – with only one mine in operation, that of Bikita, but several projects under development – and ranks 5th in the world behind Australia, Chile, China, and Argentina. Mali, DRC, Namibia, and Ghana are about to join the small circle of lithium-producing countries.