In December 2018, a short 12 months after replacing his predecessor’s junta that had stifled and mismanaged the economy for over a decade, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, made a visionary announced on his Economic Dialogue column in The Sunday Mail:
‘‘Our minerals remain inert stones or encrustations on rock until they are mined and processed into marketable products which the world demands.’’
He was writing after commissioning a lithium project in Goromonzi, 38 km outside the capital Harare, explaining that similar lithium deposits also found in Kamativi Matabeleland) and Bikita (Masvingo) have been there since time immemorial.
‘’Yet if these deposits are worked and processed, Zimbabwe immediately becomes the first on the continent, and eighth largest producer of lithium in the world,’’ he continued.
And now, recent developments in the mining sector show that the President’s vision and commitment for the country to become an upper middle-income economy by 2030, is slowly taking form and shape.
The coming in of Chinese conglomerate Huayou has set a positive tone that has changed the conversation as to what Vision 2030 is all about.
‘’ED (as the President is popularly known), is courting and bringing in investors who will transform livelihoods,’’ says an official in his office.
The official was speaking to The Afronews after the Huayou deal to buy Arcadia Lithium mine had been signed.
Huayou recently acquired a 78% shareholding of the Australian Stock Exchange-listed Prospect Resources shares for US$422.
The global giant’s strategy is to build its materials arm.
“The acquisition of Arcadia complements our existing battery metal mining operations in Southern Africa and represents a logical transaction for Huayou as we continue to build a new energy material division,’’ said Chen Xuahua, the company’s founder and chairman.
The company is the world’s biggest producer of cobalt, a metal used in Electric Vehicles batteries and has assets of close to US$8 billion.
The official close to the deal believes the coming in of Huayou is a real game-changer.
‘’This is only the beginning of a new phase in our mutually-beneficial partnership and investment relations that date bate centuries . . . and bodes well for the future,’’ he said.
By Patrick Musira