Prospect Lithium Zim charms Govt

THE Government is excited by the socio-economic transformation that Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe has brought in Goromonzi District, Mashonaland East Province since the development of the company’s project a few years ago, an official has said.

Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ) is a subsidiary of China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Limited, one of the world’s largest energy lithium-ion battery materials and new cobalt materials producer.

Huayou bought the controlling interest in Zimbabwe’s Arcadia Lithium Mine in Goromonzi from Australia-headquartered mining group Prospect Resources for US$377,8 million in 2021.

Briefing the media during a tour of Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe’s mining site in Goromonzi on Tuesday, Mashonaland East Minister for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Dr Apollonia Munzverengwi said the fact that it took PLZ less than two years to do exploration, develop the mine and establish the plant before tapping into the export market, is testimony that the company is a serious investor riding on the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.

“We are now walking tall as a province; we are standing tall amongst other provinces and I am impressed and excited that we are the province hosting the biggest deposit (lithium) in the country as of now.

“They are here to prove a point that Zimbabwe is open for business. We are witnessing the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe today and we were here recently with His Excellency commissioning the plant.

“Within two months I was told they are exporting plus or minus 100 000 tonnes of lithium per month and we are expecting to exceed that figure and maybe to go beyond 200 000 tonnes per month. What it means to us as a province is that the company has created employment for our people. I have heard the company employs plus or minus 2 500 people and out of that 80 percent is the local people and out of that 65 percent is from Goromonzi District,” she said.

“So, you can then see the level of employment that has been created by this company at the end of the day, downstream, a lot of companies are benefiting from the establishment of this company. The company itself is involved in a lot of community activities, be it in health — they are providing health facilities, in education they are building schools for our people and infrastructure development.”

Lithium is now one of the most important minerals due to its growing use in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles. It is also a base metal used in some non-rechargeable batteries for things like heart pacemakers, toys and clocks.

Lithium has become one of the strategically important commodities in Zimbabwe as the mineral is expected to add impetus in driving the mining industry, which is one of the major economic mainstays, towards an upper middle income economy society by 2030.

“I am also happy that they (PLZ) have discovered another lithium component called petalite; initially we were told there are two spodumene and lepidolite, but now they have discovered another component.

“Maybe in six months’ time they are going to discover another lithium component again. Now they are talking of tantalite and as a province and the Government at large, we are excited by progress that PLZ is making and also contributing to economic development,” said Dr Munzverengwi.

In an interview with journalists after the tour, she said with increased mining and agricultural activities happening across Mashonaland East, the province’s gross domestic product was poised for a major boom and probably overtake Harare and Bulawayo provinces.

“With what is happening here (Goromonzi District) and other areas in Mashonaland East and you know very well that we are an agriculture-based province, our GDP all along was anchored on agriculture. But the coming in of PLZ and other lithium mining companies coming to Mashonaland East, maybe we are going to surpass Harare and Bulawayo provinces which are on top in terms of GDP size and become number one in terms of the GDP,” said Dr Munzverengwi.


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