ED commissions US$300m lithium plant

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe’s US$300 million spodumene, petalite and tantalum processing plant which is expected to enhance the company's capacity utilisation.

The plant is expected to process the produce before export.

This comes at a time government has banned export of raw lithium, a move which has seen a number of companies stuck with the unbeneficiated product.

Mnangagwa said the plant was an important building block for government’s ongoing mordenisation and industrialisation drive.

“I recall that in 2018 we converned here when this area was merely an empty field for the ground-breaking ceremony commencing initial work at this site,” he said.

“In June 2021, we were here to commission the pilot petalite processing plant which was a precursor to this bigger and more advanced processing plant with a total capacity of 4, 5 million tonnes per year.

“Lithium is the mineral of present and future, hence its beneficiation will position our country as an emerging and competitive player in the global lithium value chain.”

The President said the intrinsic benefits include employment, empowerment opportunities, increased revenue, economic growth and the country's gross domestic product growth.

He challenged the company to draw from its existing expertise and resource endowments within the Sadc region to manufacture lithium batteries and other components in Zimbabwe.

“Going forward, I challenge Prospect Lithium to also prioritise borehole drilling for surrounding communities to enable our people to undertake income-generating nutritional gardens and horticulture projects. The company is also urged to remain alive to the responsible mining initiative which I launched in May this year, ” he said.

Mnangagwa added that the country stood ready to scale up partnerships and welcome investments from China for a shared future.

This, he said, will help capacitate  young people in the field of science, technology and innovation to leap-frog the country's industrialisation and mordenisation agenda.

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