- June 8, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Zimbabwe Lithium Company is suing a Chinese firm, Beijing Pinchang for stalling progress on the development of US$1,4 billion lithium project in Kamativi, Matabeleland North province.
In 2018, Zimbabwe Lithium Company was involved in a legal wrangle with Beijing Pinchang over mining rights at the tailings dump in Kamativi.
The Chinese company had shown interest in taking over operations at Kamativi after the suspension of operations at Kamativi Tin Mine by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) in 1994 due to subdued international prices of tin.
But the Zimbabwe Lithium Company argued that through an agreement their subsidiary, Jimbata has with ZMDC, that gives the lithium producer mining rights to the tailings dump.
Jimbata had projected to resume operations at Kamativi last year but the deadline had been missed on account of the legal battle.
Jimbata managing director Mr. John McTaggart said:
“We are suing the Chinese firm in the Supreme Court. We are taking them in the Supreme Court for having prejudiced ourselves and Zimbabwe from going forward with this project.”
Early this year, the High Court ruled in favour of Zimbabwe Lithium Company over mining rights at the tailings dump, further consolidating the firm’s initiatives to re-open the mine.
Meanwhile, Mr. McTaggart said they had started the process of importing a pilot concentrate plant from South Africa before the main plant worth US$10 million is installed at the mining site.
“We haven’t started production as yet mainly because of Covid-19. We are unable to import the pilot plant and soon as we start having things moving across the border, we’re ready to go,” he said.
It is envisaged that 250 people will be employed under the first phase of the project while thousands of other jobs would be created across the downstream industry.
In March 2018, Jimbata embarked on an evaluation exercise drilling holes to depths of 1 500 metres and sampling to ascertain the lithium resource in the tailings dumps at the defunct mine.
The results were used for the production of the NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Estimate for the Kamativi Tailings Project.
Jimbata is also looking at beneficiating spodumene to lithium carbonate.
Of late, lithium production is fast surfacing as a potential game-changer for the local mining sector with investors showing determination towards the exploitation of the resource.
This article first appeared in the Mining Zimbabwe June 2020 Issue