Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday welcomed the partnership between Chinese company Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt and Australia-listed company Prospect Resources, under which the Chinese company will acquire Arcadia Lithium Mine.
Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt announced in a statement this week that it would pay a total of 422 million U.S. dollars to acquire the Prospect Resources-owned Arcadia Lithium Mine, about 40 km east of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. It said it would pay 377.8 million dollars for Prospect Resources’ 87 percent stake and 44.2 million dollars for a 6 percent stake held by a local investor.
Speaking at a signing ceremony between the two parties held at State House, Mnangagwa pledged his government’s full support to facilitate the unlocking of maximum value from the strategic mineral resource, for win-win benefits.
State broadcaster ZBC reported that Mnangagwa said the signing of the agreement for the development of the Arcadia Lithium Mine was a positive development as the country continued to march toward the attainment of a 12-billion-U.S.-dollar mining sector by 2023.
“The development further bolsters the important role played by the mining sector for the overall attainment of outcomes set out in the National Development Strategy-1 (NDS-1) and Vision 2030. On behalf of the government, the people of Zimbabwe and indeed on my own behalf, I am pleased to welcome, to Zimbabwe, a world-class partner, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, which is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange,” he said. “We are therefore enthused by the emergence of companies such as Prospect Resources and Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt. Their focus on lithium mining and value chain industries will see this key mining sub-sector immensely contributing to the realization of development which leaves no one and no place behind. It is my expectation that investments of this nature will equally help lift many of our people out of poverty and into prosperity.”
President Mnangagwa promised that the government would continue to implement comprehensive reforms to enhance the country’s competitiveness in this sector.
“Lithium is the mineral of today and indeed the future. Its numerous uses constitute critical parts of various value chain industries including portable electronics; glass and ceramics; energy storage and the manufacturing of electric vehicles,” he said. “As a country with one of the largest lithium reserves in Africa, we are poised to become a hub for research, development, exploitation and manufacturing of green energy and lithium-based solutions.”
Zimbabwe has abundant natural resources and highly diversified mineral endowments. And the country’s mining industry has been mainly based on gold, chrome, platinum and diamonds.