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Zimbabwe state miner says lithium assets attract investors

“It’s not just about China, but other nationalities as well,” Barnard said. “We are working on a structure that can accommodate several potential investors and those investors will be able to take a portion of the resources available in Sandawana and develop them.”

Kuvimba is seeking to attract investors after lithium prices stabilized following a boom-and-bust period that left a series of projects stalled, deals canceled and production cuts. The battery metal market is still dealing with inflated inventories, while prices are down about 80% from their peak in 2022.

Mining veteran Barnard, who previously held roles at Anglo American Plc, met with Cluff Resources Ltd. last month, but said talks were also underway with other potential investors.

Kuvimba, 65% state-owned, is carrying out further exploration and the CEO hopes to get closer to a 100 million tonne lithium resource. Zimbabwe has some of the world’s largest hard rock lithium reserves, which have mainly attracted Chinese investors.

The company plans to spend up to $300 million developing the first phase of a lithium mine, plus a processing plant, Barnard said.

Gold mining remains the “crown jewel” of Kuvimba’s business, but the company also plans to revive construction of the Darwendale platinum project after Russian investors pulled out in 2022, the chief executive said.

(By Godfrey Marawanyika)

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