Source: Zimbabwe to start lead battery production | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2018
A $1,4 billion lithium deal with a foreign investor is expected to pave way for the creation of a lead battery manufacturing plant in the country, Mines Minister Winston Chitando has said.
Chitando said government was moving to establish a committee for the establishment of a local lead battery manufacturing plant.
“Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) signed a joint venture agreement for the extraction of lithium in Matabeleland. Significant progress is being made on another lithium project and work is underway on a couple of others.
“Government is committed to see the construction of a lead battery manufacturing plant. This development leaves current and potential lithium producers with the task of quickly putting together a Lithium Producers Association through the Chamber of Mines.
“This association, together with government representatives and other stakeholders, will map concrete plans and a roadmap for the establishment of a lead battery manufacturing plant. This committee should be operational by March 1,” Chitando said.
The minister announced the deal at the recently-ended Mining Indaba held in Cape Town. He said Zimbabwe was on the verge of being a significant player in lithium production.
He said government was determined to ensure there was value addition in the lithium value chain.
“In this regard, it is most pleasing that the agreement signed between ZMDC and its investing partner has value addition clauses in it,” Chitando said, without giving details.
The lithium deal, anticipated to involve the reprocessing of dump, is set to unlock more than $1,4 billion over the next few years with reports indicating the investor would begin work on the site in March.
According to Chitando, the investment will create 500 jobs.
“Firstly, the investment is in Matabeleland North and the initial investment involves reprocessing of dump, which has got $1,4 billion worth of lithium to be unlocked, and the investment has been struck with an investor who will come in with capital.
“We will see the investor coming in by March 1 and doing some infrastructural work relating to rehabilitation of schools, clinics to support the envisaged investment,” he told a local publication in Cape Town.
After Australia, Argentina, Chile and China, Zimbabwe is considered to be the fifth-largest lithium producer in the world.