In an effort to reclaim control of its mineral exports, Zimbabwe passed the Base Mineral Export Control Act in 2022, which banned the export of raw lithium. However, some Chinese-owned companies that are developing mines and processing plants in the country are exempt from this ban. With the world going electric, African countries will play a critical role in the electric vehicle battery supply chain. In 2009, China overtook the U.S. as Africa’s largest trading partner and accounted for 70 percent of global EV battery production capacity leaving the U.S. behind. CNBC explores Zimbabwe’s mining sector to find out why China has a stronghold on the country and why it matters to the U.S..
Why All Eyes Are On Zimbabwe’s Lithium Industry
Zimbabwe has been mining lithium for 60 years and the government estimates that its Chinese-owned Bikita mine, which is located 300 km south of the capital Harare, has about 11 million metric tons of lithium resources.
Zimbabwe has significant lithium resources and has the potential to become a major player in the global lithium market. However, the country faces various challenges in developing its lithium industry, including regulatory issues, infrastructure development, and attracting foreign investment. Nevertheless, the future of Zimbabwe’s lithium industry looks promising, and it is closely watched by many.