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Mineral exports hit US$20b mark

ZIMBABWE has raked in more than US$20 billion from the export of minerals from 2018 to date, Mines and Mining Development minister has said, underlining the sector as a key driver of economic growth.

Speaking at the commissioning of the Kamativi Mining Company’s spodumene mine and phase one lithium flotation plant on Friday, Mines minister Zhemu Soda said the mining sector was on a growth trajectory, particularly in the lithium subsector.

“Zimbabwe’s mining industry is without doubt a key sector that contributes significantly to the country’s gross domestic product,” the minister said.

“A cumulative of more than US$20 billion has also been realised from the export of various minerals that include gold, platinum and lithium from 2018 to date.”

Soda said the stakeholders in the subsector were able to surpass their set target for exports, despite the regulations that were instituted to control the export of raw lithium.

“Lithium exports were set at US$500 million, but a total of over US$600 million was realised from the export of spodumene, petalite and lepidolite despite export bans that were effected in 2023 underscoring the importance of this lithium minerals to our economy,” he said.

The ministry will continue working on strategies to help Zimbabwe realise more gains from its mineral resources, he said.

These strategies include coming up with special purpose vehicles for mineral exploration, new mines opening, re-capacitation of dormant mines, expansion of current mining projects, curbing mineral leakages, increased capacity utilisation and ultimately value addition and beneficiation across the whole sector.

Soda said the spodumene mine and phase one lithium flotation project was a key milestone in the country’s mining history.

He said government through the Mines and Mining Development ministry has come up with a number of strategies to help grow and regulate the nation’s lithium subsector.

These strategies include re-opening of closed mines and introduction of regulatory frameworks.

Kamativi Mine was historically a tin mine that stopped operations in 1994.

Through government’s efforts of partnering private players, the brownfield project has sprung back to life as a lithium mine.

The mine is being resuscitated by the Chinese firm, Yahua Group.

So far, it has spent about US$100 million on the project, against targeted total investment of US$249 million.

The firm’s lithium concentration plant is capable of processing 300 000 tonnes of raw spodumene ore into 50 000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate per annum, translating to an estimated US$50 million in revenue per year.

The facility, according to Soda, is an addition to the lithium processing plants that were commissioned in the year 2023 culminating from the high global demand of the mineral.

He said it was impressive that these plants are in different provinces across the country that include Mashonaland East, Masvingo, Manicaland and Matabeleland North, meaning that economic activity will be spurred on by such projects.

Flotation is one of the technologies that allow for the separation of valuable minerals from ore, ensuring maximum recovery rates and minimising waste.

The flotation plant of Kamativi will be able to produce lithium concentrate to grades stipulated in Zimbabwe’s regulations as guided by lithium regulations.

“This is, indeed, commendable and is testament of our efforts of moving step by step towards achieving full value-addition and beneficiation of Zimbabwe’s vast mineral resources,” he said.

To date, Kamativi has created job opportunities, employing 300 people directly, and approximately 1 000 jobs indirectly through sub-contractors, according to Yahua Group president Meng Yan.

“We are delighted to share with you that since inception of our mining operations, Kamativi Mining Company has contributed significantly to the Zimbabwean fiscus, exceeding US$8 million in taxes,” he said.

“With the completion of phase two imminent, we expect this project to create more employment opportunities and increase our tax contributions towards the development of Zimbabwe.”

Kamativi has to date invested over US$2 million in various community projects.

These include, among others, the rehabilitation of community roads, resuscitation of electricity and water supplies while donating an assortment of needs to local schools and the clinic.

Source | NewsDay


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