London Stock Exchange-listed mineral exploration and development company Aterian has discovered lithium deposits in another site in the country, making its mining blocks to 23.
The company on Tuesday, confirmed lithium discovery in a new target zone, following an analysis at its HCK-1 site, making it 23 separate target zones that have lithium deposits.
"I am highly encouraged by these results from HCK-1. The confirmation of the potential for lithium discovery, in addition to the identification of additional pegmatites and a new pegmatite zone, is exciting,” said Charles Bray, chairman of Aterian.
“This work clearly demonstrates that the southern projects represent a strong exploration play with the opportunity for bedrock lithium discovery hosted by the LCT pegmatites,” he added.
“We now have a clearer understanding of the controlling structures and will plan a programme of scout drill holes to test for bedrock lithium (and tantalum-niobium-tin)” said Mr Bray in a statement.
He noted that the company continues to build the trading business, and construction work on the mineral upgrading facility in Kigali is progressing well. The company’s trading team has visited over 25 potential mineral suppliers nationwide and got a strong indication that a consistent lithium supply chain will be established and maintained in the country.
As momentum builds around lithium due to a global shift towards electric car manufacturing, investments in lithium mining in Rwanda continue to grow, promising to turn around the mining sector's fortunes in coming years.
Lithium is a central material in the making of energy-saving batteries used in electric cars, and the mineral will be needed in meeting the 26 million global car demand by 2030. In 2021, about 6.6 million electric cars were sold, double of those sold in 2020.
A few years ago, lithium was almost treated as a residue, with little to no value, going for $5000 per tone in 2018, but by November 2022, the price had surged to an all-time high of $84,700 per MT on the global market.
Following the spike in global value, Rwanda swung into action to conduct preliminary surveys which indicated the presence of lithium deposits in Ngororero, Muhanga, Karongi, Bugesera and Rwamagana.
It is reported that in different rural areas, people in the recent past have been using lithium as construction material for their houses due to its shining crystals.
Trinity Metals, a merger of three mining companies, Rutongo Mines, Eurotrade International, and Piran Rwanda Ltd is also raising funds to invest in lithium mining.
The company has said besides its Musha mines producing around 20 tonnes of tin per month, it also contains highgrade lithium. It intends to invest $30 million in its existing tin and tungsten projects over the next two to three years.