Story by Stanley James, Business Editor
ZIMBABWE has recorded a 165 percent increase in lithium production during the first quarter of the year.
According to the Mineral Production Report covering the period January to March released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) this week, the increase in production is mainly due to massive projects in lithium value chains.
The figures confirm the lithium production index during the period under review was at over 184 percent, reflecting a year on year increase of 169,5 percent from 68,4 percent recorded in the first quarter of last year.
Experts say the rise in production will in the long term be sustained due to increased projects, rising global demand for the commodity and viable international prices.
“Lithium is the most sought after commodity to such an extent that it is only a matter of time before the country can realise more benefits of the mineral taking into account the vast reserves across the country and increased interest from strategic markets,” said Economic Analyst, Mr Edward Chimedza.
Lithium Association of Zimbabwe President Hillary Cela said, “This data means Zimbabwe has what it takes in terms of increased returns from the commodity. What is needed is just to ensure that the beneficiation policy is fully implemented, remember this is one of the strategic mineral that will play a significant role in economic development going forward.”
Zimbabwe, which has the largest reserves of lithium in Africa is forging ahead with policies to ensure maximum realisation of benefits from the commodity’s sales.
The government has also banned raw lithium exports, a move described by the global mining community as a way of retaining more profits and ensuring socio economic development.