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Zimbabwe Pursues Local Lithium Production Boost

ZIMBABWE, Africa’s leading lithium producer, is intensifying efforts to refine battery-grade lithium domestically, aiming to strengthen its economy. According to a government official on Monday, four prominent lithium mining companies have presented proposals to commence production of battery-grade lithium within the country. The move comes as Zimbabwe aims to capitalise on its significant lithium reserves, among the world’s largest, to meet the rising demand for electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy storage solutions.

According to Deputy Mines Minister Polite Kambamura, the government had initially set a deadline for miners to submit refining plans by March 2024, but this was extended by two months at the request of some miners. ‘They are coming forward with plans but these are long term plans which we are receiving. We have four large scale producers who have come forward,’ Kambamura told Reuters, underscoring the strategic importance of local lithium refining to Zimbabwe’s economic agenda.


Despite refraining from disclosing the names of the companies involved, Kambamura emphasised that the government is yet to evaluate the proposals. Zimbabwe’s lithium sector is currently dominated by Chinese mining companies, including Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, Sinomine Resource Group, Chengxin Lithium Group, Yahua Group, Canmax Technologies, and the Tsingshan Group, which have collectively invested over $1 billion in the country’s lithium reserves.

While Chinese firms have expressed reservations about local lithium refining, citing infrastructure and resource constraints, Zimbabwe remains resolute in its stance. The government insists on domestic refining to maximise economic benefits and meet the growing global demand for lithium-powered technologies. ‘We are not going to end on concentrates, we want batteries to be manufactured here,’ Kambamura affirmed, highlighting Zimbabwe’s commitment to value addition in its mining sector.

As the world shifts towards cleaner energy sources, Zimbabwe’s push for local battery-grade lithium production signifies a strategic move to align with global trends while fostering economic growth domestically. With the potential for significant investments and technological advancements in the lithium sector, Zimbabwe aims to emerge as a key player in the global supply chain of sustainable energy solutions.

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