President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday commissioned the Arcadia Lithium processing plant which is the biggest hard rock lithium processing plant in Africa and sits top three hard rock lithium processing plants in the world.
The Arcadia lithium project in Goromonzi is owned by one of the world’s biggest battery metal producers, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt’s Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ).
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development set a roadmap to create a US$12 Billion industry by 2023 as a contribution to Vision 2030 with lithium being one of the key minerals to contribute to this growth.
PLZ invested US$300 million on the rapid development of a lithium mine and a process plant at the Arcadia lithium project as it is geared to contribute significantly towards the attainment of the government’s vision to achieve a US$12 billion mining industry by the end of 2023.
Speaking to Mining Zimbabwe on the sidelines of the commissioning of PLZ 4.5 million tonnes per annum processing plant in Goromonzi, PLZ Head of Corporation Social Responsibility (CSR) Mr Paul Chimbodza said the completion of the project is testimony that Zimbabwe is indeed open for business.
“The completion of the PLZ plant is testimony that you can successfully take projects from exploration to production so that talks a lot about the value chain of taking up the curve. It also buttresses the fact that we have got world-class deposits in Zimbabwe. This project here sits as the largest lithium processing plant hard rock in Africa and sits in the top 3 hard rock in the world. The official opening takes to the ease of doing business that you can take project inception to production. Annual throughput of 4.5 million tonnes a year,” Chimbodza said.
In his address at the Event Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon Winston Chitando, said the commissioning of the plant was a step in support of the recently gazetted lithium policy which stipulates that no unprocessed lithium leaves the country.
“Your Excellency, my Ministry, together with all stakeholders in the mining sector, worked on a Lithium Policy that was recently effected by the government to provide guidelines on every activity pertaining to lithium mining and processing. I must say the Policy has started bearing fruit with local beneficiation of lithium being supported across the country. Our thrust should therefore be now aimed at ensuring value addition to these minerals once they are beneficiated,” Chitando said.
The President giving his keynote address commended PLZ for the construction of the plant that it was positive towards reducing unemployment.
“Construction of Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe’s processing plant has directly brought about numerous employment opportunities for our people with a total of 3,000 people including contractors having been employed. Nearly 80% of both skilled and unskilled personnel employed by Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe are locals. This will therefore go a long way in reducing unemployment,” President Mnangagwa said.