Lithium project set to kick off in April

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Lithium project set to kick off in April

THE SouthernTIMES Mar 19, 2018

    > Kuda Bwititi

    Harare - The us$1,4 billion lithium project in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland North province will commence in April, the country’s Mines and Mining Development Minister has told The Southern Times.  

    The government of Zimbabwe struck the lithium deal with an international investor whose identity is being kept under wraps while the terms of the project are being finalised.

    Over the past few years, hordes of international companies have been scrambling to get licences to mine lithium in Zimbabwe, which is richly endowed with untapped deposits of the mineral.

    The government says the selected investor has agreed to pump US$1.4 billion into the project, which is expected to create employment opportunities for hundreds of people.

    In an interview in Harare this week, Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando, said work on the project will commence on April 1.

    “We have received a firm commitment from the investor that they are ready to be on the ground. They are going to start by refurbishing roads, schools and clinics for the communities and their employees.

    “Soon after that, they will start to set up operations. They have said by April 1 everything will be in place for them to start work,” he said.

    He added: “This is obviously a huge investment for the country and we are doing our best to ensure that we get everything right. That is why at the moment we are not in a position to release the name of the investor, save to say it is a listed international company.”

    Chitando said the lithium project is one of the target-driven objectives that he has set out to achieve in line with the 100-day plan programme that is being pursued by Zimbabwe’s government.

    “Lithium is one of the areas where we have received lots of inquiries. It is an area where we are seeking to come up with tangible results swiftly as part of the 100-day programme that has been spelt out by President Mnangagwa.”

    Demand for lithium is expected to shoot through the roof in the next few years owing to growing demand for the mineral, which is a key component in manufacturing car batteries .

    The increasing demand for electric cars is also expected to contribute to a global boom for lithium.

     

    Lithium is used mainly as a component of rechargeable batteries and as a treatment for several types of mental disorders. Zimbabwe is the world’s fifth largest producer of lithium after Australia, Chile, Argentina and China and has the opportunity to increase its share of the growing market. Other major producers are Brazil, Portugal and the United States.

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