Chinese battery giant enters Zim lithium industry
Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe is poised to become a research and development hub for green energy and lithium based solutions as it gradually exploits its huge reserves of the mineral, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.
He said this at a signing ceremony between Australian firm Prospect Resources and China’s Zhejiang Huayou.
Huayou, the world’s biggest refiner of the battery metal cobalt, is buying out Prospect Resources, local minority shareholders and creditor’s rights for a combined US$422 million.
Prospect which was developing the Arcadia lithium mine near Goromonzi, had been on the hunt for new investors to advance the project.
Huayou announced plans to build new battery plants in June for US$1.2bn, and is looking for more lithium supply.
President Mnangagwa said the project would leap-frog Zimbabwe into lithium production and value chain industries.
“Lithium is the mineral of today and indeed the future. Its numerous uses constitute critical parts of various value chain industries including, portable electronics; glass and ceramics; energy storage and the manufacturing of electric vehicle,” he said.
“As a country with one of the largest lithium reserves in Africa, we are poised to become a hub for research, development, exploitation and manufacturing of green energy and lithium based solutions.”
President Mnangagwa said the arrival of Huayou on the local mining scene was a massive show of confidence in government’s policies and the economy as a whole.
“Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt brings with it, the benefit of significant operational experience, with a focus on research; production of cathode materials; development and production of battery precursor; development of battery metals resources; safety; environmental management as well as development and operation of mining projects in general,” he said.
“This partnership is further envisaged to result in the development of a broad portfolio of high-quality battery metals projects In addition, such a pathway brings significant Foreign Direct Investment, broadens employment opportunities as well as royalty and tax revenue for our country.”
President Mnangagwa said the development was a massive boots to the country’s ambition for the mining sector as to become a US$12 billion industry by 2023.
He pledged government’s commitment to implementing reforms which enhance Zimbabwe’s competitiveness.
“As you are aware, Zimbabwe is host to abundant natural resources and highly diversified mineral endowments. Historically, our mining industry has been mainly based on gold, chrome, platinum and diamonds, among others.
“We are therefore enthused by the emergence of companies such as Prospect Resources and Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt. Their focus on lithium mining and value chain industries will see this key mining sub-sector immensely contributing to the realisation of development which leaves no one and no place behind. It is my expectation that investments of this nature will equally help lift many of our people out of poverty and into prosperity,” he said.