PROSPECT Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ) has consistently exported 100 000 tonnes of lithium concentrate per month since it commissioned its spodumene, petalite and tantalum processing plant in July last year, a Cabinet minister has said.
Speaking during a tour of PLZ’s offices and staff accommodation in Goromonzi this week, minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland East province, Aplonia Munzverengwi said the firm anticipates to achieve 200 000 tonnes.
“We are witnessing the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe. Within two months of commissioning the plant, I was told that they are exporting plus or minus 100 000 tonnes of lithium per month,” she said.
“I want to thank you, the engineer, who is championing the mining activity here, together with the leadership of PLZ, we are now walking tall as a province, and I’m impressed and excited from the presentation that I’ve seen that we are the province hosting the biggest deposits in the country as of now.
“At some point, while they were still doing their validation, I was meant to believe that we are number five in Africa, number eight in the world in terms of the size of the deposits.”
Zimbabwe’s rapidly developing lithium industry has taken a big stride forward and assumed a pivotal role in the global clean energy competition.
According to Munzverengwi, the company will be able to export even more in the upcoming months given its current pace and focus.
PLZ has the largest resource in Zimbabwe with deposits of 43 million metric tonnes and founded in 2016 with an investment of US$700 million from Huayou Cobalt, the largest battery manufacturer.
The minister also urged companies to think about manufacturing lithium batteries for the local, regional and global markets in addition to mining lithium for export.
She expressed satisfaction that PLZ was following international and Zimbabwean rules pertaining to the extraction and processing of lithium.
“They also want to involve themselves further to process up to the level of lithium sulphate and we are saying they should go beyond that. They have to plan ahead to say at the end of the day all things done we want to export finished products in the form of lithium batteries,” she said.
“What should stop us from exporting lithium batteries to South Africa, Zambia, the African region and even beyond, I am challenging the PLZ team, our engineers here to say go back on the drawing board. We do not want what you are exporting but maybe half of what you are exporting should all value and produce various products for export.”