Chinese firms have invested US$570 million into Zimbabwe’s lithium mines in the past three months, as they intensify their push to control the lithium value chain.
The companies are making serious inroads into Zimbabwe’s mining sector, to feed into their battery production industry, which has seen huge demand since electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing increased in the past few years.
Last week, Shenzhen Stock Exchange-listed Suzhou TA&A Ultra Clean Technology Co. Ltd bought shares worth about US$15.7 million from Premier African Minerals, a Zimbabwe-focused miner that is developing the Zulu Lithium and Tantalum project near Bulawayo.
It is one of the biggest Chinese firms, with a market capitalisation of about US$6.7 billion.
It has a 75 per cent holding in lithium hydroxide producer Yibin Tianyi Lithium Industry Co, Ltd, together with China’s largest EV battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology.
Premier CEO George Roach said the subscription would fully fund the completion of a definitive feasibility study (DFS) at the Zulu Lithium and Tantalum project.
In December, Zhejiang Huayou bought Arcadia lithium mine, from Prospect Resources for US$378 million.
Zimbabwe will pocket only US$30 million in taxes.
1). In January 20222, Sinomine Resource Group Co. Ltd announced that it would be buying 100% shareholding in African Metals Management Services and Southern African Metals and Minerals, the firms that control 74% shareholding in Bikita Minerals.
2). The deal is worth US$180 million.
3). Bikita Minerals is situated in Bikita Hills, near Masvingo. The firm has been operating for around 100 years.
However, the Zimbabwe Coalition for Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) raised red flags, saying the government was parcelling out strategic assets to foreign firms without giving legislators room to assess such transactions.
More: The Standard