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Zimbabwe Bans Lithium Exports To Create a Lithium Battery Production Capacity

Zimbabwe recently banned the export of lithium, of which it is a major world producer, and is now embarking on the creation of its own lithium industry, including the production of lithium batteries. This is in line with the government’s Lithium Ore Policy and part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s vision for value addition and beneficiation of the country’s vast mineral resources.

The country has been losing $1.8 billion annually from the smuggling and export of raw lithium. Now a Zimbabwean company, Verify Engineering, will establish lithium battery production in the country. Verify Engineering, a state-owned company established in 2005 under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, has a history of technological development in Zimbabwe. The company is already involved in oxygen production, exporting much of its output to neighboring countries like Mozambique.

Fanuel Tagwira, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, is quoted in a July 8 Sputnik article as saying, “[W]e want to graduate to lithium batteries and eventually electric vehicle batteries.” This initiative underscores the country’s belief in the potential of its people. As Professor Tagwira emphasized: “In Zimbabwe, we have very learned people; the only thing that we had not done was give them a chance. We never gave them a chance.”

In May, reported that, rather than export its iron ore and coal, Zimbabwe was about to open a new, integrated steel mill that would produce an initial 600,000 tons of steel by the end of the year and more than 5 million tons when fully operational.