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US$13bn mining deal sealed

by Staff reporter
17 Sep 2022 at 06:40hrs | Views
The Government and two Chinese investors - Eagle Canyon International Group Limited and Pacific Goal Investment - yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding that immediately paves the way for the construction of a US$13 billion mine to energy industrial park in Mashonaland West Province.

The project, which is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe, would be established on a 5 000-hectare piece of land in Mapinga, along the Harare-Chinhoyi Road and will boost the economy through beneficiation of minerals and support the clean energy drive.

Officiating at the signing ceremony at State House in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the agreement was in keeping with the Second Republic's development philosophy of leaving no one and no place behind, and would spur the realisation of Vision 2030 of an upper middle income society.

"The agreement is set to facilitate and promote the establishment of a first-of-its-kind Mine to Energy Industrial Park, in Mapinga, Mashonaland West Province.

"This agreement attests my Government's commitment to implement clean energy projects as critical enablers to leap-frog the modernisation and industrialisation of Zimbabwe," he said.

The new mine to energy project will include the construction of two 300MW power stations, a coking plant, lithium salt plant, graphite processing plant, nickel chromium alloy smelter as well as a nickel sulphate plant.

President Mnangagwa commended the two investors for choosing Zimbabwe as an investment destination of choice and finding home in the "sacred land of vast opportunities".  He said the mine to energy industrial park would augment the Government's thrust on value addition and beneficiation of minerals as well as bolster the crucial role that mineral value chains play in the national industrialisation agenda.

"The proposed mines to energy park will mark the inception of lithium-ion battery value chain in Zimbabwe. It is set to place Zimbabwe amongst the world producers of lithium-ion batteries, while contributing to the growth of a resilient clean global energy economy," he said.

The President commended Eagle Canyon International Group and their partners for choosing Zimbabwe as an investment destination of choice.

Zimbabwe is unwavering in its quest to develop, modernise, industrialise and grow the economy, said President Mnangagwa.

"As we do so, the mainstreaming of the ecological, social and governance aspects across all sectors, must continue to be prioritised.

"Equally, the exploitation of our abundant natural resource endowments must lift many more of our people out of poverty and into prosperity," said President Mnangagwa.

The Second Republic has adopted the "Zimbabwe is open for business" mantra, which is attracting a lot of investors into various sectors of the economy such as mining, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.

"We are a safe destination to invest in, to visit and to explore. I want to specifically recognise and commend business from the People's Republic of China who have consistently shown their confidence in the doing business environment, in our country.

"We look forward to working with our all-weather and strategic friends from China, as we pursue multi-pronged investments that will ensure our country leap-frogs its national industrialisation and modernisation agenda," said President Mnangagwa.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the investment was expected to contribute towards the achievement of National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) objectives.

"Under the New Dispensation, the Government of Zimbabwe had been working tirelessly to enhance the conducive environment for domestic and foreign direct investment.

"Since the inception of the Second Republic, Zimbabwe has been the favourite destination for investors from around the world," he said.

VP Chiwenga said Zimbabwe was on course to achieve a US$12 billion mining economy by next year.

In 2019, the Government launched a US$12 billion mining strategy by 2023 and mining sector export earnings for 2021 reached US$5,2 billion, with prospects of reaching US$8 billion. Said VP Chiwenga: "The mining to energy park is not only going to boost Zimbabwe's economic growth and development, but it indicates Zimbabwe's commitment towards clean energy.

"Our country is thus well positioned to capitalise on the significant opportunities presented by the lithium-ion battery era."

VP Chiwenga said Zimbabwe has the world's fifth largest reserve of lithium and the latest investment was a positive step towards reaching the country's goal of harnessing the value in local lithium resources through value addition and beneficiation.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said the mine to energy park will be operational in the next few years to come.

"Construction is going to start immediately. Already, the investor has put some engineers which are ready to go on site and make sure that the project is a reality.  

"But more importantly, is the fact that economic development in any country does not happen by chance or by accident, there had to be a vision," he said.

Minister Chitando said Phase 1 of the project would be US$4,4 billion after which there will be lithium salt and other value addition which will take place.

Eagle Canyon International Group Holding Limited director, Mr Lionel Mhlanga, said the mine to energy industrial park would be a world-class investment that will revolutionise Zimbabwe's mining and energy sectors by ensuring optimum value addition and beneficiation for all minerals mined locally.

"The World Bank has forecast a 500 percent increase in demand for minerals and metals needed to deploy wind, solar or geothermal power by the year 2050," said Mr Mhlanga.

Source - The Herald
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