BUHERA: Zimbabwe welcomes more investors to take up opportunities in the exploration, extraction, and beneficiation of natural resources in order to maximize the value of its vast mineral wealth.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa made the remarks during the official ground-breaking ceremony of the Sabi Star Lithium Mine in Buhera District, Manicaland Province.
Chengxin Lithium Group, headquartered in China, last year acquired a 51 percent interest stake in Max Mind’s Sabi Star Lithium Mine in the eastern part of Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa said on Wednesday that the investment will go a long way toward the country’s quest to establish vibrant lithium mining and value chain industries. “This project, among others, will further give impetus to the overall modernization, industrialization, and growth of our economy.”
In addition, Mnangagwa said local beneficiation of resources is of paramount importance as the country seeks to create maximum value from its resources. “Lithium is going to transform our area. All companies operating in the sector must submit their value-addition plans.”
Mnangagwa said the government welcomes investment in the lithium value chain and will provide support to investors who promote national development programs.
“Companies such as Max Mind will be supported in their efforts to increase production and productivity as well as the levels of mineral beneficiation and value addition,” he said.
Mnangagwa also commended the company for undertaking Corporate Social Responsibility programs that benefit the community in which it operates.
Speaking on the same occasion, Max Mind Zimbabwe Project Manager Elfas Mugova said the company will contribute to the development of Zimbabwe’s lithium sector growth.
Mugova said Sabi Star Mine will produce one million tonnes of raw ore per year, which will translate into 300,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate per year.
“The expected revenue from this operation will be at least one billion U.S. dollars annually, based on current prices of lithium concentrate,” Mugova added.
Speaking at the event, Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the development by Max Mind marks an important milestone in Zimbabwe’s quest to achieve sustainable economic growth.
“Lithium is an essential mineral in the production of lithium iron batteries which are critical for the development of clean energy, among other uses. In this regard, lithium mining companies should create synergies with the energy sector to develop sustainable lithium iron battery value chains,” said Chiwenga.
In 2019, Zimbabwe set out an ambitious drive to more than quadruple the mining sector revenue by hauling minerals worth 12 billion U.S. dollars by 2023. In 2021, the country earned about 5.7 billion U.S. dollars in mineral exports, a huge leap from 3.2 billion U.S. dollars recorded the previous year.