Zimbabwe is sitting on huge reserves of rare-earth minerals that could easily be the second largest in the world after China, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Sunday.
In an interview with an international news agency, Mnangagwa said the exact extent of the deposits is not yet known but that he has been informed that they were large enough to compete against China’s endowment of the same minerals.
China is said to hold about 30 percent of the world’s total reserves of rare-earth minerals, a much sought-after raw material in the production of electronics, vehicle components and wind turbines.
“Anyway, this is an early discovery as far as we are concerned at government level and policy level, but I am informed that this is a very lucrative discovery,” Mnangagwa is quoted as saying in the interview, excerpts of which were published in Zimbabwe’s state media on Sunday.
He said his government would begin to look at how the country could exploit them “because, one, we don’t have the technology; two, we don’t have the skills; three, we don’t even know what we have, except what we were told by other people that we have.”
Some rare-earth minerals are used in the production of television screens, fibre optics, lasers and fertilizers as well as in the manufacture of water treatment chemicals.