COMMENT: Success of Gwanda lithium project reaffirms Government’s economic drive

25 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
COMMENT: Success of Gwanda lithium project  reaffirms Government’s economic drive lithium

The Sunday News

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has always reiterated that Zimbabwe is open for business and that his Government’s development thrust will leave no one and no place behind.

As a result, the country has received massive investment from various parts of the world, and that investment has been spread across the country. Gwanda district in Matabeleland South province boasted of the Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) cement processing plant at Colleen Bawn, and a number of mining companies that provided full-time employment to locals, among other sectors. However, the economic activity in the district and the whole of Matabeleland South Province has gone a gear up, with the operationalisation of a second lithium mine. 

Our sister paper, Chronicle, reported last week that a total of 300 workers mainly locals, have been employed at the newly-established Gwanda Lithium Mine Zimbabwe at Mandihongola area, in yet another milestone investment under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa.

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 is also 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. 

Matabeleland South Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu, last week 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 wanted to be a major economic player to contribute 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 power line from Gwanda to the mine, which has a capacity of 88kv. For now, we are conducting trial runs for our processing and we will start full production 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.

The success of the Gwanda Lithium Mine, which is the second such plant in the province after Zulu Lithium, dovetails with President Mnangagwa’s vision of uplifting the lives of Zimbabweans and making sure that the country attains an upper middle-income status by 2030.

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