Zim’s lucrative lithium sector attracts more investors

23 Jan, 2023 - 00:01 0 Views
Zim’s lucrative lithium sector attracts more investors Zim’s lucrative lithium sector attracts more investors

eBusiness Weekly

Michael Tome

AFRICAN Lithium Resources Limited (“ALR”), a subsidiary of the AIM-listed Red Rock Resources, is set to expand its lithium extraction operations to Goromonzi as the company applied for 125 hectare- claims in Arcturus, as the mineral rush continues in Zimbabwe.

A number of companies have lately been scurrying for opportunities to acquire the commodity which has become highly sought after globally, leading to a stampede of lithium investors in the country.

ALR just in 2022 acquired 51 hectares of lithium claims 29 kilometers North West of Bikita and the company has since moved to make an application for another 107 hectares claim near Bikita, a property that has high lithium grades according to a completed sampling process.

The company’s projects represent just a fraction of the current mad-dash into the country’s lithium sector.

Arcturus, where Prospect Lithium Resources (PLZ) is domiciled, has grown to become a hotspot attracting massive interest from lithium investors.

Zimbabwe holds some of the world’s largest reserves of hard-rock lithium, a vital mineral used in the production of clean energy technologies.

Numerous lithium projects are currently at various levels of implementation across the country, a positive trajectory inspired mainly by the bullish global lithium prices.

The traction in the lithium sector is likely going to contribute handsomely to the fiscus if exploited on a win-win basis.

Zimbabwe is earmarked to realise circa US$500 million from lithium mining activities this year as the country seeks to grow mining to a US $12 billion industry this year.

According to the Minister of Mines and Mineral Development, Winston Chitando, these are the expected earnings from the lithium projects that are established or currently taking shape in the country.

Lithium has grown to become a vital commodity used mainly in lithium-ion-batteries production as the world head to enhance the use of green energy and apparently, Zimbabwe is one of the largest sources of the commodity on the continent with several projects in the exploration phase expected to begin operations this year.

“A new 125-hectare application near Arcturus, a mining site 32 kilometers east of Harare in Zimbabwe has been approved for grant with a further application for 46 hectares nearby has been made.

“A country with a long and continuous mining history is coming back into favour and we are helping that process,” Andrew Bell, chairman and Chief executive officer of Red Rock Resources revealed in the company’s final results for the fiscal year to June 2022.

Worldwide, there has been notable growth in the use of electric vehicles and green energy for various productions, consequently spurring demand for the commodity globally.

Of late, the Zimbabwean Government invoked a ban on the export of raw lithium ore, calling for value addition of the commodity in the country before export.

The ban except for ore samples being exported for analysis, was announced by Minister Chitando through the statutory Instrument 213 of 2022, the Base Minerals Export Control (Lithium Bearing Ores NA D Unbeneficiated Lithium) Order, 2022.

Analysts are of the view that Zimbabwe’s ban on raw lithium exports is a notable move towards realising the maximum value of the local mineral wealth.

Recently, a Chinese steel manufacturing firm, Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) indicated that Zimbabwe has all the raw materials needed to manufacture lithium-ion batteries and it intends to set up the plant locally.

This merges with the Government’s vision of transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030 through value addition and beneficiation of local resources.

“As a company, we are gratified by the Government’s position to ban raw lithium exports, it is something that we have been waiting for and it also strategically positions us in our plans to set up a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant,” said the company representative.

Earlier this week Suzhou TA & Ultra Clean Technology signed a Joint Venture with Mutoko Lithium (Private) Limited to set up a plant that will produce two million tonnes of lithium concentrate per year.

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