Serrari Group

A strategic investment by China in Africa’s lithium mining sector is proving fruitful, with a notable revival observed at a previously dormant mining site in northwest Zimbabwe. This resurgence follows significant investment from a Chinese company into a modern lithium processing plant, reflecting the global surge for this valuable resource.

The Kamativi lithium mine, situated approximately 90 kilometers southeast of Hwange in Matabeleland North Province, is undergoing development in two phases. The first phase, currently operational, boasts an annual production capacity of 300,000 tonnes of raw spodumene ore and 50,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate. The second phase, set to commence next month, is projected to scale up production significantly, reaching 2.3 million tonnes of raw ore and 300,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate annually.

Traditionally reliant on Australia as its main spodumene source, China is diversifying its supply chains amid tightening exports from key global lithium producers. Africa, particularly Zimbabwe, has emerged as a focus for China’s efforts to secure stable lithium supplies. The Kamativi project, a joint venture between China’s Sichuan PD Technology Group, a subsidiary of the Chinese-listed entity Yahua Group, and local firm Defold Mine, symbolizes this strategic shift. Once a tin-producing entity shuttered in 1994, Kamativi now represents a new chapter, showcasing the synergy between China’s industrial prowess and Zimbabwe’s lithium resources.

Chairman Meng Yang of Yahua Group expressed confidence in the venture, highlighting its potential to transform Zimbabwe’s mining sector. The Kamativi lithium processing plant joins several Chinese-funded facilities catalyzing Zimbabwe’s lithium industry, aligning with global efforts to embrace sustainable energy solutions.

Beyond enhancing China’s lithium supply, these initiatives bode well for African nations involved. Forecasts by London-based Benchmark Minerals project a substantial increase in African lithium production in 2024, with Zimbabwe expected to lead the surge.

However, China’s strategic moves have drawn attention from geopolitical rivals. The United States, cognizant of its reliance on Chinese supply chains, has initiated efforts to secure critical battery metals from Africa, aiming to diversify its sources and reduce dependence on China.

As China strengthens its position in the lithium market and geopolitical dynamics evolve, Africa emerges as a critical battleground for resource dominance, shaping the trajectory of global energy transitions.

photo source: Google

By: Montel Kamau

Serrari Financial Analyst

13th May,2024

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