Mines minister warns Chinese companies against malpractices, illicit trade

Tichaona Zindoga

The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Zhemu Soda, has warned mining companies against malpractices, amid a battery of issues that have bedevilled the natural resource sector.
Zimbabwe has over 40 commercially exploitable minerals but perceptions about few trickle-down benefits to communities, rampant abuses and lack of compliance by companies, have led to stakeholders becoming disillusioned.
While addressing a gathering of Chinese miners in Harare, early this week, Soda also called for beneficiation of Zimbabwe’s minerals to enable the country to move up the global value chain. He also suggested building synergies and partnership to shore up development.
Chinese mining companies dominate the industry in Zimbabwe, with investments worth billions of dollars.
“As we grow our mining sector, we urge all our investors to be responsible miners and shun various malpractices associated with the sector as this tarnish(es) the image of the mining sector,” Soda said.
He said in line with the responsible Mining Initiative launched by President Mnangagwa last year, miners had to work within parameters of the law particularly in protecting the environment.
“Furthermore,” the minister emphasised, “minerals should be marketed through formal channels and refrain from illicit trade and smuggling.” 
Soda said to promote the beneficiation and value addition of lithium Government banned the export of all base ores, including lithium, enjoining investors to establish Approved processing Plants in order to export value-added lithium – a key resource in the manufacture of batteries for the electric vehicle industry, electronics and new energy sources such as solar in light of the global transition away from fossil fuels.
“As Zimbabwe, we need to strategically position ourselves within the global lithium value chains.
“We need to produce lithium carbonate and ultimately produce lithium batteries in the country,” Soda said.

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