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CSO hails Bikita minerals beneficiation to communities

by Stephen Jakes
05 Dec 2023 at 09:09hrs | Views
BIKITA - President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned petalite and spodumene processing plants at Bikita Minerals that are valued at US$ 300 million on November 29 2023.

The giant processing plants will see the beneficiation of lithium ore into spodumene and petalite which are the stones from which lithium is extracted.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony President Mnangagwa welcomed the move saying it will bring the much needed development in the country in line with the NDSI.

Citizens Action Southern Africa Zimbabwe (CIASA) Projects Director Archbold Madida speaking with local authorities in Bikita welcomed the beneficiation of minerals and he hopes Zimbabwe's economy will grow exponentially from the beneficiation of the minerals.

During the same meeting the organization also called for the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure an end to illicit financial flows within the mining sector.

Such a development CIASA says would mark a departure from the previous mining regimes whose financial records saw Zimbabwe losing billions of dollars to cartels.

The organization made a clarion call for the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that the country gets maximum profits from the minerals unlike in the past when lithium ore was being exported in its raw form.

Speaking during the official opening ceremony the president of Zimbabwe called upon Bikita Minerals to mine the resources while following ethical environmental practices.

"I implore Bikita Minerals to undertake their operations with the highest ethical standards, professionalism, honesty and integrity and we seek to realize sustainable prosperity that benefits all Zimbabweans,” said Mnangagwa.

CIASA firmly believes that such ethical environmental standards will intensely help protect the environment and help contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals 15 and 13 among many others.

Mnangagwa told the gathering that Bikita Minerals has set aside US$20 million for the construction of a new bridge over Save river for easy passage to Manicaland and Mozambique and will complement Birchenough Bridge.

CIASA applauds Bikita Minerals for such exceptional corporate social responsibility, as it has also embarked on the construction of a US$22 million 132kvpower line, from Tokwe - Mukosi to Bikita which is expected to be complete during the first quarter of 2024. The powerline will feed into the national grid and is set to be the panacea to the country's electricity woes.

It is also constructing a US$2 million 132kv solar which will electrify Bikita, Gutu and Zaka Districts, a move CIASA applauded as it is an investment in renewable energy and contributes to the reduction of use of fossil fuels.

The Mine has also helped in the construction of Shumbaimwe clinic which is located in ward 11 of Bikita district.

The company which is poised to get 1 billion profit this year now employees 800 workers and the company's group chairman Wang Ping Wei, said with the opening of the two plants, more people will get employed .

CIASA Zimbabwe welcomed the move and it looks forward for the company to employ more locals from Bikita District and recommended that the company also consider employing people from other drought prone Districts like Chivi and Mwenezi.

It also implored the company to invest more towards unpaid care work for women and persons with disabilities

Spodumene and petalite which contains 60% and 40 % lithium respectively is used to manufacture mobile phones, laptops,digital cameras, automotive batteries and are used as a raw material in the ceramics industry among others.

Madida called upon the administration at Bikita Minerals to follow environmental guidelines that ensure sustainable mining and curbs depletion of natural ecosystems.

"The administration should priorities environmental matters and ensure protection of our ecosystems with the knowledge that the resources should benefit future generations," Madida.

Zimbabwe, greatly depends on the mining sector to boost its GDP and enhanced production will help meet development objectives set out in the National Development Strategy 1(NDS1).

However, Madida said for such noble ideas to see the light of the day, the Zimbabwean government must ensure transparency and accountability in the management of natural resources to improve the country's fortunes. The Community Share Ownership Scheme should be open for all local communities to understand how resources have been disbursed and how they have been utilized especially by Bikita Rural District Council

Source - Byo24News