Bikita Minerals acquisition a game changer – Isaac Kwesu
The acquisition of one of the country’s oldest mines by Chinese-owned Sinomine Resource Group is a game changer towards the achievement of the US$12 Billion mining industry, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe CEO Mr Isaac Kwesu has said.
China’s Sinomine said the company will invest US$200 million to build a plant and expand its existing mining operations as they seek to play a significant role in the achievement of the US$0.5 billion lithium industry by 2023.
According to Kwesu, the coming in of Sinomine at Bikita Minerals will benefit Zimbabwe in the achievement of the country’s lithium development as the mine according to President Mnangagwa has the potential to become a global kingpin in the Li-ion battery making industry.
“The coming in of Sinomine is a massively positive development to the community and country at large let alone our mining sector to achieve US$12 billion mark as announced by the government. The mining industry is very illuminated with this massive project. Lithium is key in the beneficiation and value addition goals of the country and it will go a long way in assuring that the mining value chain has strong linkages to the manufacturing sector when it comes to the role of lithium in battery making. The Sinomine project will go a long way in assuring that Zimbabwe achieves its social-economic development agenda for mining,” Kwesu said.
Wang Pingwei, director of Sinomine Group, said the company is poised to play a bigger role in the development of a lithium value addition in Zimbabwe.
“In order to promote resource value, generate tax income and bring employment opportunities for the local communities, Sinomine has decided to invest 200 million U.S. dollars in phase one to renovate the existing facilities and build a new processing line with a capacity of up to 2 million metric tons per year,” Wang said. “When fully operational, Bikita Minerals will achieve an annual income of approximately 600 million U.S. dollars, over 15 million U.S. dollars in taxes, and create more than 1,000 job opportunities.”
Vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga said the country should maximize its rich lithium deposits to position itself as a player in new technologies.
“The lithium subsector should prioritize the development of a lithium-ion battery value chain. This would accelerate Zimbabwe’s transition to clean energy while also ensuring the strategic position in the global lithium-ion battery markets,” he said.
Chiwenga said the lithium subsector gives numerous opportunities to explore, which would create jobs and generate income for the country.
Zimbabwe possesses Africa’s largest lithium reserves and the fifth-largest globally. The growing global demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy has seen Chinese and American companies investing in lithium mining in recent years.