Harare: President Emmerson Mnangagwa desperately wants to show that he can turn the economy around and is looking for quick wins from the mining sector, which had been spooked by his predecessor’s indigenisation plans. Mnangagwa does not want to completely liberalise the sector, and the government still insists on majority local ownership for platinum and diamond mining projects.
A new mining bill now making its way through parliament proposes to force mining companies to list on the local stock exchange, though foreign minister Sibusiso Moyo told an audience at Chatham House in London on 25 April that the clause would be taken out.
Platinum is the main focus for miners, and in March, Cyprus-based Karo Resources signed a deal with a promise of $4.2bn in investment in the Mhondoro-Ngezi region. A lot of platinum goes into catalytic converters and other devices to reduce emissions on petrol-powered cars.
Analysts predict that demand for platinum will drop as car makers pour more money into hybrid and electric cars. Globally, the electric car sector is booming, boosting the demand for lithium, a key component in batteries. Four Zimbabwean lithium projects are getting underway this year.
Currently, only Bikita Minerals produces lithium, and it has an estimated 11m tonnes in its mines, which have been producing for the past five decades. Australian miner Prospect Resources leads the lithium rush with the rapid development of its flagship $55m Arcadia project near Harare.
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