Story by Davison Vandira
Zimbabwe’s mining industry continues to register milestones with the country’s first ever lithium ore processing plant set to be established in the next 12 months through a joint venture between Mutoko Mineral Resources and Chinese company, Suzhou.
This comes as government has banned exports of all unprocessed mineral ores including Lithium in line with the National Development Strategy One’s value addition and beneficiation thrust.
The move has opened doors for Chinese giant Suzhou, one of the world’s largest Lithium battery producers supplying 34% of the globe’s requirements which has seized the opportunity to establish a lithium processing plant through a Joint venture with Mutoko Mineral Resources.
According to the company’s chairman, Mr Pei Zhenhua they are looking at processing 2 million tonnes of lithium ore into more valuable lithium concentrate.
“We are very much pleased to be in Zimbabwe at this particular juncture as we have come to make a huge investment through building a lithium processing plant in Mutoko that will Increase the country’s foreign currency earnings as well as boost employment opportunities,” he said.
Mutoko Mineral Resources chairman, Mr Sybrand Van Der Spuy is excited after finding the right partner in the development of mineral value chains that will spring the country’s development trajectory.
He said, “This joint venture is a welcome development taking from the recent government intervention on exporting raw lithium ore and this will catapult Zimbabwe’s socio-economic development agenda through many ways as the beneficiation of the abundant resource will come with unlimited economic spinoffs.”
The company is also interested in technological transfers from first world to developing countries hence it will engage in human capital development for locals to run the lithium processing plant.