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Zimbabwe, Chronicle, Inglês


Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, [email protected] 

A TOTAL of 300 workers mainly locals have been employed at the newly-established Gwanda Lithium Mine Zimbabwe at Mandihongola area in Matabeleland South province, in yet another milestone investment under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa.

More job prospects are expected as the project expands with higher value earnings through downstream value addition and beneficiation, which would impact positively on the Government’s drive to achieve a US$12 billion mining industry.

The new mining venture is a subsidiary of Chinese global investor Tsingshan Holdings Limited Groups, which also is setting up the giant US$1.5 billion Dinson Iron and Steel plant in Mvuma, Midlands province and two other subsidiaries including Dinson Colliery in Hwange, Matabeleland North province and Afrochine Smelting in Selous near Chegutu, Mashonaland West province. 

Dinson had earlier expressed interest in setting up a lithium battery manufacturing plant and later secured lithium mining claims in Gwanda where it expects to produce millions of tonnes of lithium concentrate annually to support the high-value battery project.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with Government to pave the way for the project in November 2022 and expects to kick-start production in April. 

Matabeleland South Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu, yesterday conducted a tour of the giant mining plant, which is undergoing lithium processing trial runs.

Officials on site said the construction of the processing plant commenced in December 2022 and ended in December 2023 at a cost of US$54 million under the first phase of the project. 

Once production commences, the mine is expected to record a capacity of one million tonnes of ore and 200 000 tons of lithium concentrate annually.

Briefing Dr Ndlovu, Gwanda Lithium Mine public relations manager Mr Nickson Kutsaranga said the mining company wants to be a major economic player to contribute more to the National Development Strategy (NDS1).

“From December 2022 to December 2023 we were concentrating on infrastructure development, that is, construction of the lithium processing plant. 

“We have managed to put up an 80km Zesa powerline from Gwanda to the mine, which has a capacity of 88kv,” he said. 

“For now we are conducting trial runs for our processing and we will start full producing after March. Once production has commenced, we are targeting an output of 3 000 tonnes (ore) per day. 

 

“We have already employed about 300 people from the local community, and 80 percent of the workers we have at the mine are from the local community as we wanted the community to benefit from this project,” said Mr Kutsaranga.

He said the community has also benefited from road maintenance works that have taken place in the area with the project also creating a market for different product suppliers.

A facility has been established where locals supply farming produce to the mine.

Speaking after a tour of the mine, Dr Ndlovu commended the Chinese company for bringing the much needed development in the community and urged the business to maintain environmentally friendly operations.

“The purpose of my visit here today was to familiarise myself with operations at this mine and check on progress,” she said. 

“It’s pleasing to note that there is great progress here and production is expected to start soon. Our friendship with China dates back to the liberation struggle period. It’s pleasing to see that this partnership continues to bear fruits. 

“China helped us to fight the political war and today they are assisting us in fighting the economic war. Remember that we are under illegal sanctions and without friends like these we can’t have such development,” said Dr Ndlovu. 

“I’m impressed by the company’s approach of leaving no one behind as seen through their employment pattern.”

The minister also encouraged the mine to consider offering internships to students from nearby tertiary institutions.

She commended the employment of youths as a key factor in curbing the mass exodus of people to neighbouring countries while applauding extension of community development projects.

Traditional leaders from the area also commended the Government through its partnership with China for bringing about the much needed development in the community.

“This is one of the biggest developments, which we have seen here in our area. We are grateful for this development that has brought significant improvement to the lives of many people. 

“It’s pleasing to see such a big company establishing its business here. We would like to thank Government for making this development possible through its partnership with China,” said Gobatema village head, Mr Benjamin Nyathi. 

 



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