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Value-added lithium operation on cards

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Value-added lithium operation on cards


United Kingdom (UK) listed firm, Marula Mining, intends to establish a valued-added lithium operation
Muchai Mining in Bikita, Masvingo Province, chief executive officer (CEO), Jason Brewer revealed.
Value addition is in essence the ability to produce out of a specific natural raw material (hard rock as
Spodumene, Lepidolite, etcetera, or brine from salars) a chemical product for lithium batteries
Lithium demand has grown substantially across the world, amid the push to transition to a climatefriendly
electric car, with petroleum-powered internal combustion engines among the biggest polluters of
the environment.
The mineral is expected to be an integral part of the Governmentʼs plans to grow the mining industry into
a US$12 billion industry by end of this year, generating at least US$500 million annually.
However, this depends on the individual properties of the raw material being fed into a conversion process
and is only successful if the resulting chemical product matches the customersʼ performance
There has been massive interest from foreign companies, especially from China, to invest in Zimbabweʼs
lithium sector.
One of the major investors is Huayou, which acquired Arcadia Mine, near Harare, from Prospect Resources,
an Australian-listed mining firm in a US$422 million deal in 2022.
Muchai Mining was established to focus on the fast-growing battery metals sector and the subsidiary will
secure advanced lithium and copper mining and development opportunities in the country.
Mr Brewer told international media that Marula Mining was currently piloting a process for value-added
lithium in South Africa and the plan would be extended to Zimbabwe, where the company has lithium
projects under consideration, as well as to Zambia and Tanzania.
This comes as several stages of refining are needed before the spodumene concentrate from mines is
ready for use as lithium in electric car batteries.
In a circular issued on 20 December 2022, and in terms of the Base Minerals Export Control Act, Mines and
Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said, “No lithium bearing ores, or unbeneficiated lithium
whatsoever, shall be exported from Zimbabwe to another country.”
The ban will “ensure that the vision of the president to see the country becoming an upper-middle income
economy has been realised,” it added.
The Zimbabwe Miners Federation, a lobby group for artisanal and small-scale miners, called for the ban to
be lifted for six months, saying that existing offtake agreements have been prejudiced.
The ban, the federation says, has led to a stockpile of nearly two million tonnes of lithium ore.
Mr Brewer is convinced the Zimbabwe Governmentʼs decision to ban raw exports is the right one. He said
Zimbabwe made the decision to avoid becoming like Western Australia, where iron ore is extracted and
shipped without any value addition.
“Theyʼre not interested in seeing merely a hole in the ground. They desire to witness construction,” he
He stated that it is reasonable for countries to seek to go up the value chain because Africa now possesses
some of the worldʼs highest grade and highest value mineral projects. Instead than sitting back and
watching as lithium refineries are erected in countries like north-east England, African governments need
to take the initiative.
“Itʼs only going to happen if countries take decisions like Zimbabwe,” Mr Brewer said.
“You have to give a nudge in the right direction.”
Muchai Mine is owned 80 percent by Marula Mining and Gondo Mineral Resources Ltd, a local company,
holds the remaining 20 percent.
Mr Brewer said “The decision to establish Muchai Mining is the result of extensive due diligence and
careful consideration of various opportunities in the region.
“Our team has been on the ground since the beginning of the year, and we are excited about the potential
that Zimbabwe offers the company and the industry.
“With Marulaʼs experience and expertise, combined with our local partnersʼ knowledge and experience in
the country, we believe Muchai Mining is well positioned for success.”
Marula Mine is known for its operations in Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia. Herald

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