Zimbabwe to set up battery manufacturing factories

By Staff writer | 20 Nov 2018 at 16:08hrs
Minister July Moyo says Zimbabwe is going to set up battery manufacturing factories in the Midlands Province as part of lithium beneficiation efforts.

Gweru used to be home to Kariba Batteries which used to supply Zimbabwe with good quality batteries.

Today Cabinet was briefed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa would preside over the ground-breaking ceremony to mark the commencement of mining operations at Arcadia Lithium Mine in Arcturus, Goromonzi on 30 November 2018.

As you may be aware, lithium, is the mineral of the moment, being a key component for the manufacture of electric car batteries and cellphone chips. As such, the exploitation of such a mineral will create a basis for the development of high-end technology industries in Zimbabwe, which are often referred to as industries of the future.

Zimbabwe has the potential to supply 20% of the world's lithium, the mines minister from Africa's top producer of the alkali metal used in batteries for electric vehicles.

Zimbabwe is a top 10 of lithium producer but currently produces only a fraction of the worldwide total. It aims to supply 10% of the world's lithium in four years.

Prices for lithium have more than doubled in the past two years on forecasts for massive demand from the electric vehicle industry. That has sparked work on a flurry of new mines and expansion plans for existing ones.

Zimbabwe sitting on a lucrative mineral treasure trove and angling to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), Australian listed firm, Prospect Resources, is on course to spending an estimated US$55 million on a new lithium plant in the southern African country.

Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa once said Zimbabwe has the potential to be a global manufacturing centre for the type of Lithium batteries.

"We are already using Lithium battery systems in DPA and we are partnered with some of the key players in that industry. Given our ambitions in this space for our Africa wide rollout, we would be keen to see local manufacturing in Africa itself."

"It would make a lot of sense for Zimbabwe to position itself as a manufacturer of the finished products rather than as a miner of raw materials.

"We are neither miners nor manufacturers. It's really up to government if they want to get investment in manufacturing to come up with the policies that would make it attractive to invest in large scale manufacturing," said Masiyiwa

Cabinet approved the following priority projects from Ministries for immediate implementation under the 100-Day programme:

Mines and Mining Development

• Increasing capacity of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) Conglomerate Plant from 200 tonnes per hour to 450 tonnes per hour;

• Establishment of two (2) chrome smelters at Afrochine Smelting (Pvt) Ltd;

• Establishment of two (2) chrome smelters at ZIMASCO;

• Establishment of Gold Service Centres at Penhalonga, Shamva and Silobela;

• Installation of the Unki Smelter Energy and Power Development

• Marvel 175 MVA transformer at Marvel Substation in Bulawayo;

• Prince Edward Dam 33/11KV substation in Harare;

• Transformer manufacturing at ZENT, Harare;

• Rural electrification in all the eight (8) rural provinces;

• Operationalisation of the Mabvuku Service Station in Harare;



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