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Prospect seeks SEZ status for lithium project

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PROSPECT Lithium Zimbabwe

PROSPECT Lithium Zimbabwe (PLZ), a unit of Australia Stock Exchange-listed Prospect Resources Plc, has applied for special economic zone status (SEZ) for its multi-million dollar Arcadia Lithium project near Harare that was commissioned by President Mnangagwa yesterday.

President Mnangagwa told delegates at the official ground-breaking ceremony that lithium was one sub-sector targeted to leapfrog Zimbabwe’s industrial and economic development to middle-income status by 2030.

Several senior Government officials attended the ceremony, among them Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Transport Minister Joel Biggie Matiza, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications) George Charamba as well as many senior diplomats including from China and Australia.

Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe executive director Paul Chimbodza told The Herald Business in an interview after President Mnangagwa had commissioned the lithium project, located 38 kilometres east of the capital, Harare, that the mining company was looking to secure an SEZ certificate soon.

The Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe Arcadia project will hoist Zimbabwe, currently the world’s 5th largest lithium producer with only a single mine operating, to a much higher production ranking and earn the country hundreds of millions in annual foreign revenue and other value chain activities export earnings.

This comes as lithium has gained global prominence as the most valuable mineral for the future given its use in a number of areas including medicines and ceramics, but more importantly manufacture of electric vehicle batteries. This also comes amid growing global push for green energies.

Phase 1 of the Arcadia lithium project, expected to earn Zimbabwe $3 billion over a 12-year life of mine (LOM), is anticipated to go into full production in the next 12 to 14 months. This will follow the initial investment of $165 million. Seventy per cent of initial lithium was sold upfront.

Half the funding required for the project has already been raised while processes to secure the balance of the required capital outlay, which comes on the back of the successful completion of a definitive feasibility study, is in progress.

“We have been working with Government; you may be aware that the Special Economic Zones Authority is a new baby on the block and we are continuously engaging them and they have got all our documentation.

“We are hoping that not in so long a time to come we will have our SEZ licence in place and some of the SEZ senior management were actually at this function (ground-breaking ceremony yesterday) here,” Mr Chimbodza said.

SEZ, Mr Chimbodza said, was important for Zimbabwe given the cocktail of economic and business incentives awarded to companies in such targeted specific export-oriented sectors, industries or sub-sectors.

“It (SEZ application) is mainly to do with incentives that Government has put in place. Special Economic Zones are designed by their nature to bring in incentives in terms of tax holidays, work permits if you are going to need any external workforce, but importantly SEZs are specifically for export-oriented products.

“So, it is a sign of approval for our investing community for Zimbabwe to start establishing and operationalising these special economic zones because they bring in a lot of these issues (incentives) that make a lot of business sense from a commercial point of view,” he said.

Minister Chitando said the Arcadia lithium project, which has the potential to become Africa’s largest hard rock lithium mine, will produce petalite and spodumene.
“Arcadia is deemed to be the largest hard rock lithium project in Africa,” he said.

“In terms of production, Zimbabwe in 2017 was the 5th largest (lithium) producer in the world. This principally comes from Bikita Minerals (Masvingo), which produces petalite. Arcadia is deemed to produce two (types of lithium), petalite and spodumene (varieties of lithium).”

Currently, only Bikita Minerals is producing but there are four other promising projects under development namely Kamativi, Zulu in Bulawayo and Lutope (Hwange).

To support the development of this strategically important sub-sector Minister Chitando said together with the miners he was working to develop a lithium development policy.

Based on the proposed 2,4 million tonnes per annum mining and processing operation, the DFS indicates that Arcadia will be a strong financial, high margin project with current forecast Life Of Mine (LOM) revenue of $2,93 billion and average annual EBITDA of $106 million over an estimated 12-year mine life.

The Herald

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INTERNATIONAL

African Union’s Inclusion in G20: A Significant Acknowledgment of a Continent with 1 Billion Inhabitants

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african-union-g20

The world’s most powerful economies, the G20, have welcomed the African Union (AU) as a permanent member, recognising Africa’s more than 50 countries as important players on the global stage. US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi both expressed support for the AU’s permanent membership.

The AU has advocated for full membership for seven years and, until now, South Africa was the only African country in the G20. The AU represents a continent with a young population of 1.3 billion, which is set to double by 2050 and make up a quarter of the world’s population.

Africa’s 55 member states have long pushed for meaningful roles in global bodies, including the United Nations Security Council, and want reforms to the global financial system. The continent is increasingly attracting investment and political interest from global powers like China, Russia, Gulf nations, Turkey, Israel, and Iran. African leaders are challenging the framing of the continent as passive victim and want to be brokers instead.

They seek fairer treatment by financial institutions, delivery of rich countries’ long-promised $100 billion a year in climate financing for developing nations, and a global tax on fossil fuels. The AU’s full G20 membership will enable it to represent a continent that’s home to the world’s largest free trade area and abundant resources needed to combat climate change. The African continent has 60% of the world’s renewable energy assets and over 30% of the minerals key to renewable and low-carbon technologies.

African leaders want more industrial development closer to home to benefit their economies. Finding a common position among the AU’s member states, from economic powers to some of the world’s poorest nations, can be challenging, but Africa will need to speak with one voice to influence G20 decision-making. African leaders have shown their willingness to take collective action, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a high-profile G20 member, Africa’s demands will be harder to ignore.

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BUSINESS

Forging Strong Bonds: Iran and Zimbabwe Deepen Economic Ties in Raisi’s Africa Tour

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Zimbabwe and Iran

On Thursday, Zimbabwe and Iran signed 12 memorandums of understanding to strengthen their bilateral ties during Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Africa. Raisi had previously visited Kenya and Uganda before meeting with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Harare. Among the 12 MOUs is a plan to establish a tractor manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe with the help of an Iranian company and a local partner. The two countries also signed agreements for cooperation in energy, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications, as well as research, science, and technology projects.

Mnangagwa expressed his appreciation for investments in several sectors of Zimbabwe’s economy to reporters after the signing ceremony. However, he did not disclose the amount of investment Zimbabwe is expecting from Iran. Raisi mentioned the economic challenges facing Iran and Zimbabwe due to U.S. sanctions but emphasised his country’s efforts to build closer economic ties.

According to Iran’s foreign ministry, trade with Africa is expected to exceed $2 billion this year, but there was no comparison to the previous year’s figures. This African visit is the first by an Iranian leader since 2013, following a visit to three Latin American countries in June, all of which are also affected by U.S. sanctions.

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BUSINESS

Breaking News: E-Creator Fraud Ring Leader Apprehended by Police

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Zhao Jiaotong

The Zimbabwe Republic Police is requesting that individuals who have been deceived by E-Creator, Zhao Jiaotong come forward and report to the nearest police station.

According to police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, the kingpin of the E-Creator Ponzi scheme has been arrested on charges of fraud. The suspect is identified as Chinese national Zhao Jiaotong, who is said to be the founder of the notorious platform that has scammed people out of thousands of dollars.

Nyathi stated, “The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms the arrest of Zhao Jiaotong, 39, in connection with a case of fraud in which unsuspecting members of the public were duped through the E-Creator Ponzi scheme.”

The police are urging anyone who may have fallen victim to E-Creator to report to their nearest police station. Additionally, the public is encouraged to exercise caution and perform thorough research before investing in any Ponzi or pyramid schemes that promise quick returns.

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