A FEW days after romping to victory in the recently held harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned the Sabi Star lithium floatation plant that will add impetus to the country’s economic development.
The plant, which was commissioned in Buhera, dovetails with the Second Republic’s thrust of mineral value addition and beneficiation and is a key enabler towards the sustainable growth of the critical sector that will breach the US$12 billion target by year end.
In his remarks after opening the plant, President Mnangagwa, who was recently re-elected for another term after beating his closest challenger, Mr Nelson Chamisa of CCC, said the construction of the plant and many others across the country positions Zimbabwe as a key player in the lithium markets.
“Our presence here today reflects the unflinching focus by my Government on accelerating our country’s economic prosperity through mineral value addition and beneficiation, following the resounding Zanu PF victory in the harmonised general elections,” he said.
More so, President Mnangagwa said, the mining sector remains critical for the realisation of Vision 2030, through employment creation, Gross Domestic Product growth and foreign currency generation.
“Since 2017, the mining sector has exceeded US$20 billion in cumulative mineral exports and is on track to achieve the US$12 billion mining sector economy by year-end. The vast array of strategic mineral resource endowments, coupled with increased capacity utilisation and stable national energy supply, among other factors, will undoubtedly see sustained growth of the sector.
“As you may recall, I was here in December last year for the ground-breaking ceremony of the flotation plant being commissioned today. I would like to thank all stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to complete this lithium flotation plant in just eight months. Well done to you all.”
President Mngangagwa said the construction of the lithium flotation plant by Sabi Star aligns well with the Government’s call for the beneficiation and value addition of the country’s mineral resources.
“The growing global demand for lithium and the presence of our own processing facilities reduces exports of unprocessed minerals and positions Zimbabwe as a key player in the lithium markets.
“Over and above enhancing profitability and foreign currency generation, this development will further have positive spill-over effects to surrounding communities and the nation as a whole.”
President Mnangagwa also reiterated the importance of sharing proceeds of all God given natural resources.
“The benefits of the value addition of our God given natural resources must be shared by all miners, communities and the nation as a whole.
“Particularly, the host community surrounding this plant must benefit from increased jobs and empowerment opportunities for improved livelihoods and standards of living.”
In addition, President Mnangagwa said, the establishment of the plant should also stimulate the development of infrastructure and the enhancement of services in the area.
“Let us boldly leap frog our mining sector towards the development of new technologies, including automation, robotics and artificial intelligence, among others.
“I equally urge mining companies to support capacity building, training and economic programmes for the development of a diversified local business sector.”
President Mnangagwa exhorted Sabi Star Mine and the mining sector as a whole to scale up commitments to health and safety, extending from the workforce into the surrounding communities.
“All parties should, therefore, work together in support of a safety culture based on trust and mutually beneficial results.
“Going forward, the sector should ultimately graduate to the production of battery grade lithium.
“I urge mining houses to speed up the implementation of the Mining to Energy Park in Mapinga, Mashonaland West Province, which will see the construction of a lithium salt plant as well as value-addition plants to produce batteries, solar panels and other products.”
President Mnangagwa added that the nation and region are ready to consume these products.
“The requirement does not only apply to the lithium mining sector, but across other minerals where my Government expects to see the development of not only base metal refineries, but also precious metal refineries so that we derive more value from our minerals and create more jobs locally.”
The President was accompanied by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, senior Zanu PF and Politburo members.
Positive Eye News