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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Lithium industry prospects high

Story by Owen Mandovha, Business Reporter

ZIMBABWE has in a short period become a key player in the global lithium industry after robust ease-of-doing business reforms introduced by the Second Republic which have attracted massive foreign direct investment.

The US$300 million spodumene, petalite and tantalite processing plant which is so far the largest on the African continent, was built in a record time, an indicator of how project implementer Chinese giant Hayou Cobalt was encouraged by the Second Republic’s open-for-business mantra.

“The mine and this plant were consummated in a short period whereas ordinarily, a project of this magnitude takes over 8 years, but we have seen from this project how the ease of doing business reforms have managed to fasttrack signature projects in the Second Republic which are contributing to economic growth and development,” said Mines and Mining Development Minister, Honourable Winston Chitando.

The 4,5 million tonnes annual capacity plant has already shipped over 30 000 tonnes of lithium concentrates since commercial production started in April this year.

“Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe has so far earned about US$40 million from shipments of 30 000 tonnes of lithium since April and our quest is to become a market leader in the renewable and technologies market hence our commitment to ensure that Zimbabwe is on top of the sector,” said Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe chairman, Mr G Fang.

Apart from creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs, the project has become instrumental in harnessing local engineering and exploration capacity.

The successful launch of the Prospect Lithium Plant marks yet another milestone in achieving the US$12 billion mining sector value chain.

“We are indeed on course to achieving our national aspirations of improving people’s living standards as these projects come on board. The Prospect Lithium Plant will add to the US$12 billion mining industry by the end of the year and also create thousands of jobs for our local people,” said Vice President, General Retired Dr Constantino Chiwenga.

Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe is owned by Chinese commodities giant Hayou Cobalt which further demonstrates the solid bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and China, with Sabi Star Lithium Mine and Bikita Lithium Mine also owned by Chinese corporations.

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