A subsidiary of Chinese mining company Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt has commissioned a $300m lithium processing facility in Zimbabwe.
Located in Goromonzi, approximately 80km south-east of Harare, the lithium concentrator is equipped to process 4.5 million metric tonnes of hard rock lithium into concentrate for export a year.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa was quoted by Associated Press as saying: “Lithium is the mineral of the present and the future… and value addition will position our country as an emerging and competitive player in the global lithium value chain.”
Mnangagwa has urged Zhejiang to advance its expertise to help the country and other southern African countries to “eventually” manufacture lithium batteries and other components locally.
Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt acquired the Arcadia hard rock deposit outside Harare in April 2022 and built the processing plant to process lithium ore at the site.
Mnangagwa was cited by Reuters as saying that the country expects its significant hard rock lithium resources to help revive its economy.
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In 2022, Zimbabwe imposed a ban on the export of raw lithium from its mines to capitalise on surging global demand and prices for the key component of electric vehicle batteries.
The Zimbabwe Government aims to supply 20% of global lithium demand once all the country’s lithium resources have been fully utilised, according to the North Africa Post.