Zimbabwe to be first African country to put lithium in lead batteries

 Zimbabwe to be first African country to put lithium in lead batteries
Published: 23 September 2019
Zimbabwe will in coming weeks sign agreements on the development and value addition of lithium lead batteries as the country seeks to transform the mining sector into a $12 billion industry in the next 4 years, the mines minister said.
In terms of world mineral facts and statistics, Zimbabwe is the third largest producer in the world, the 6th largest diamond producing country, the 5th lithium producing country, the seventh chrome producing country, within top 10 ranking gold producing country and the 10th largest nickel producer.

However, the country is extracting only a quarter of its 40 existing minerals with lack of capital being cited as the major obstacle affecting full exploitation of other untapped minerals.
"Government will be signing an agreement by the end of October which will entail consumption of lithium at home side modular plant as well as value addition of lead batteries and Zimbabwe will be the first country in Africa to put lithium in lead batteries,” Winston Chitando told a breakfast meeting recently.
Currently, a southern Africa focused lithium and gold mining and Exploration Company based in Perth, Australia, Prospect Resources is one of the companies focusing on the extraction of lithium through its Arcadia Lithium Project located 38 kilometres out of Harare. The development of the miner’s project will strengthen the southern African nation position among the top lithium producers in the world. However, the project is the largest lithium deposit in Africa compromising 808 000 tonnes of lithium oxide.
To secure a future market for its lithium, the miner signed an off take agreement with Shenzhen-listed Sinomine, who will buy 30% of Arcadia’s annual production over 7 years. Sinomine has already bought equity in prospect for US$10 million and is to pay a further US$10 million in advance for Arcadia’s lithium concentrates.
The competitiveness of doing business for the mining sector has been negatively affected by high cost of doing business in the southern African nation coupled by high cost drivers, poor infrastructure, unrealistic foreign currency controls accelerated by forex receipts retention, high tax burdens and policy flip flop.
The major cost drivers are procurement at 49%, labour and or wages at 23%, statutory payments at 14% and energy at 10%. Given that most mines procure 90% of their inputs outside the country and require foreign currency, Economist Gift Mugano said, retention policy is going to affect negatively the operations of most mines.
Precious stones and metals which include gold, diamonds and PGMs raked in over a billion dollars in 2018 which is a drive towards a multi-billion sector economy. General mineral exports were on the upward trend for Zimbabwe but yellow metal as the current major contributor to the mineral GDP.
- finx


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