President to commission US$300m lithium project
George Maponga in Masvingo
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa will today preside over the ground breaking ceremony of a US$300 million spodumene project at Bikita Minerals that will ramp up lithium production and extend the life of Zimbabwe’s oldest mine.
A Chinese firm, Sino Mine, acquired Bikita Minerals and is injecting funds to increase lithium output while extending the life of Bikita Minerals Mine by between 25 to 30 years.
Spodumene is a rock that has very high mineralisation of lithium.
Lithium is increasingly becoming a key mineral worldwide with its demand surging for use in the ceramics industry, mobile phone manufacturing and making of automotive batteries.
Zimbabwe has arguably the largest lithium deposits in the world with Bikita Minerals having been a producer of the mineral since the pre-Independence era.
The new investment by Sino Mine will help consolidate Zimbabwe’s position as a top lithium producer in the world, while also helping in the quest by the Second Republic to grow the country’s mining industry to US$12 billion by 2025.
For Masvingo, the massive investment at Bikita Minerals is a tonic for the province’s quest to grow its Gross Domestic Product to US$8 billion by the year 2030 as part of the region’s contribution to the country’s quest to become an upper middle class economy.
Besides ramping up lithium output, the new investment by Sino Mine will create more direct and indirect jobs while foreign currency earnings for the country will also increase.
Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Masvingo Dr Jefter Sakupwanya was yesterday ecstatic about the province’s growth prospects on the back of the spodumene project to be launched today.
“President Mnangagwa will be at Bikita Minerals for a ground breaking ceremony for the spodumene project tomorrow (today).
“This is an exciting development for us as a province because the new investor at Bikita Minerals, Sino Mine, is pouring US$300 million into the project that will extend the life of the mine by between 25 to 30 years,” said Dr Sakupwanya.
He said the investment by Sino Mine dovetailed with the quest to grow Masvingo’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that of the nation as a whole.
Masvingo is rich in various minerals including lithium which is found in abundance at Bikita Minerals.