The government of Zimbabwe has made clear its intention to move the whole value chain of lithium concentrate processing to higher levels.
Through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, the government implored all Lithium players to work together giving an example of collaboration in the mining industry that can be seen in the platinum sector, where producers came together to create a study that demonstrated their commitment to value addition.
As a result, they received government support, which led to the withdrawal of export taxes on unbeneficiated platinum.
In a speech directed at lithium players in Zimbabwe, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development emphasised the importance of Collaboration in the Zimbabwe Lithium Industry.
“Let me emphasize and emphasize and emphasize again that the lithium players in this country have to work together more closely than you are today.
“I’ll give you an example. A few years back, the government came up and said for platinum, platinum concentrates with effect from this date, will be subject to a surcharge of so much because they are not being value-added. That’s still the legislation. The platinum players got together and say government, please hold on. We are serious about value addition.
“We’ll come up with a study to ensure that we achieve the goal which you have for value addition. And sure they did. The symposium of three years ago was a platinum symposium where the platinum producers were unpacking their plans to have established a base metal refinery. And as a result, the government withdrew the export tax for the unbeneficiated platinum which had been imposed.
“Now, with lithium where are we, I was talking and making reference to lithium concentrates. Obviously, the intention that the government of Zimbabwe wants to see is moving the whole value chain, moving up the whole value chain, but it won’t happen overnight. What is important is for us to work together with the industry to ensure that the industry achieves your goals, but also in government, we achieve all goals for value addition. As things stand, we do have some extent, I could say plans by individual companies to establish value addition of lithium concentrates,” Chitando said addressing Lithium miners in the country.
Chitando indicated that government will support entities that can process lithium concentrate to the next stage cautioning that this requires collaboration among the players to ensure they can collectively achieve this goal.
“Now, as a government, once we have an entity which can value add beyond the lithium concentrates and go a stage higher, two things will happen.
“The extreme case will be to ban the export of lithium concentrate which won’t happen, but we impose a levy. We’ll say, oh, there’s an entity which can do value addition beyond lithium concentrate. Why can’t you do it? Send it to them for processing.
“Then you come and say, no, but they don’t have space for me. They have only established space for themselves. So they don’t have the capacity to process our stuff well. The answer is too bad. So it is important that is the lithium players, you get together. Those who are establishing plans for value addition to the next stage, work together. Either at the end of the day, this is the same message again, I’m using the example of platinum. As a government, it’s not a question we say, if so and so should do platinum-based metal refining. No, if every company wants to do base metal refining, that’s fine. In lithium, if every player wants to do value addition beyond lithium concentrate to the next stage, that’s quite fine with us as a government,” Chitando concluded.