Mines Minister Advocates for Stronger Lithium Partnerships

by Adenike Adeodun

Zimbabwe proudly stands as the world’s sixth-largest lithium producer. Recognizing this commanding position, Mines and Mining Development Minister Zhemu Soda sees room for the nation to innovate.

Minister Soda highlighted Zimbabwe’s vast potential at the inauguration of the Zimbabwe-Chinese Energy Mining Enterprise Association. “Beyond just extracting and exporting lithium carbonate, our vision is to manufacture lithium batteries right here,” he passionately stated.

Zimbabwe needs to forge robust strategic partnerships to reach greater heights in lithium production. “For the real growth and evolution of our lithium sector, building these alliances isn’t merely beneficial; it’s essential,” emphasized Soda.

Aligning with the National Development Strategy 1, Soda voiced the government’s long-term goals. The focus is on mineral beneficiation and value addition, converging on the nation’s ambitious Vision 2030 blueprint. Given the significant lithium deposits scattered across Zimbabwe, Soda pressed on the urgency for the country to take bold strides in the lithium sub-sector.

“It’s not enough to play a role in the global lithium market. We must rise, stake our claim, and be recognized as leaders,” he declared.

Regarding regulations, Soda turned the conversation to the need for investors to establish approved processing outfits in the country. Through Statutory Instruments 5 and 57 of 2023, the government has been clear: exporting base mineral ores, including lithium, is off the table.

Further, Minister Soda acknowledged the critical function of the newly formed Zimbabwe-Chinese Energy Association. “This isn’t just an association. It’s a catalyst, bridging meaningful dialogues between the government, lithium miners, and various stakeholders. It promises to uphold the rights of its members while advancing growth in the lithium sector,” he elaborated.

According to a report by NewsDay Zimbabwe, he expressed confidence in the Association of Chinese New Energy Miners in Zimbabwe and sounded a call to action. “To amplify the mining sector’s growth, I urge you to come forward with actionable policy suggestions. Strengthening relationships with entities like the Chamber of Mines and the Zimbabwe Miners Federation will further amplify your influence,” Soda offered.

In his closing remarks, Minister Soda painted a picture of hope, mutual collaboration, and grand ambition. He envisions a shining trajectory for Zimbabwe’s lithium industry through strategic partnerships, the right policy frameworks, and an unwavering commitment to value addition.

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