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Zimbabwe Bets on Lithium to Boost Mining Sector and Economy

Zimbabwe Bets on Lithium to Boost Mining Sector and Economy

  • Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa sets a $10 billion revenue target for the country’s lithium industry, calling it the “new oil.”
  • The production and processing of lithium is expected to create much-needed jobs in Zimbabwe.
  • Zimbabwe is the world’s fifth-largest lithium producer and recently banned the export of any mineral ore containing lithium.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has set a revenue target of $10 billion for the country’s lithium industry, calling it the “new oil.” Speaking in a WhatsApp group for Glen View South, Mnangagwa stated that income generated from lithium value addition and beneficiation will likely surpass foreign currency realized through tobacco and gold combined.

Zimbabwe is the world’s fifth largest lithium producer, with its lithium output steadily increasing in recent years, producing 1,200 metric tonnes of the battery metal in 2021. Mnangagwa believes that the production and processing of lithium will create much-needed jobs in the country, local media New Zimbabwe reported. He also highlighted that Zimbabwe is lucky to have vast lithium deposits that are easy and cheap to explore. The President added that just as oil was used to develop the Middle East, Zimbabwe will use its vast lithium deposits to achieve the same feat.

The Zimbabwean government has recently banned the export of any mineral ore containing lithium, with Mines and Mining Minister Winston Chitando stating that lithium-bearing ore will only be exported with the government’s permission. The lithium industry is among the minerals expected to contribute to Zimbabwe’s target to grow the mining sector to $12 billion by 2023.

If Zimbabwe’s lithium industry can meet Mnangagwa’s revenue target, it will significantly boost the country’s economy. However, it remains to be seen whether the lithium industry can deliver on this promise, as it will face several challenges, such as securing foreign investment, building infrastructure, and navigating the global supply chain. Nonetheless, the government’s efforts to develop the lithium industry can bring about positive changes and create job opportunities for Zimbabwe’s citizens.

Business Insider

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