Zimbabwe earns US$209 million from lithium exports in nine months, says Minister


BULAWAYO — Zimbabwe’s lithium exports have generated a revenue of US$209 million in the first nine months of 2023, marking a nearly threefold increase from the previous year, according to Mines and Mining Development Minister Zhemu Soda.

Sinomine in Bikita

The surge in lithium demand, driven by the expansion of green energy industries, has significantly contributed to this increase. Minister Soda shared these insights at the inaugural Lithium and Battery Minerals Conference, which took place alongside the Mine Entra 2023 Exhibition in Bulawayo.

“Export revenue from lithium has grown from US$1.8 million in 2018 to US$70 million in 2022. By September 2023, lithium exports had already generated US$209 million, indicating a substantial improvement,” Soda stated.

Chinese firms, including Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, Sinomine Resource Group, Chengxin Lithium Group, Yahua Group, and Canmax Technologies, have invested over US$1 billion in the past two years to acquire and develop lithium projects in Zimbabwe. These companies have established processing plants commissioned this year and are exporting lithium concentrates to China for further processing.

In December 2022, Zimbabwe implemented a ban on raw lithium exports to promote value addition and beneficiation of the mineral.

Minister Soda also revealed that other major lithium producers are expected to commence operations in Zimbabwe in 2024 as part of the country’s efforts to expand output.

“The demand for materials used in manufacturing lithium-ion batteries has dramatically increased. This has attracted new local and foreign investors to mine, process, and export lithium and battery minerals from Zimbabwe. Lithium and battery minerals hold the potential to power Zimbabwe’s future through the exploitation of all available opportunities in the sector,” Soda concluded.

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