The Lithium of Zimbabwe and Coal of Enugu – And Britain’s Reopening of Coal Mines
“No lithium-bearing ores, or unbeneficiated lithium whatsoever, shall be exported from Zimbabwe to another country except under the written permit of the minister…“If we continue exporting raw lithium we will go nowhere. We want to see lithium batteries being developed in the country. We have done this in good faith for the growth of industry,” Zimbabwe Government position.
Zimbabwe is home to Africa’s largest deposits of lithium. You use lithium to make batteries for smartphones, EV vehicles, electronics, etc. It is one of the most important raw materials in the modern global economy. If Zimbabwe executes this policy (without the typical Africa backdoor cheats), this country will have resources to advance.
Just three decades ago, University of Harare was a center of learning when Mugabe was at the zenith of his presidency. The University of Warwick’s admission package had its photo. That Zimbabwe can return to its past glory if they can make $billions from this new industry, stabilize the economy, and drive growth.
Zimbabwe has imposed a ban on the export of unprocessed lithium, according to a government notice seen by Reuters on Tuesday, in a bid to stop artisanal miners who the government says are digging up and taking the mineral across borders.
The southern African country holds some of the world’s largest reserves of hard rock lithium, a vital mineral in the production of clean energy technologies.
Chinese giants Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt , Sinomine Resource Group and Chengxin Lithium Group have over the past year acquired lithium mines and projects worth a combined $678 million in Zimbabwe and are at various stages of developing mines and processing plants, which would exempt them from the ban.
As that move happens, I also call other African leaders to check the latest move in London: “UK approves first coal mine in decades, sparking anger among environmentalists as energy costs soar”. Yes, the UK will be firing coal after preaching to Nigeria and others that coal was evil. That is why Enugu has no electricity because our leaders followed without thinking. With the Russian cheap energy sources gone, the UK did not pretend: burn the coal and power the economy, climate change matter will come later.
(Sure, I support saving the earth but I posit that a nuanced strategy is key for Africa. You cannot put Enugu in darkness because London, Brussels, etc told you so, when they would not do the same thing under similar circumstances.)
The United Kingdom this week approved its first new coal mine in 30 years, provoking anger among environmentalists who said the move is a step back for the country’s ambitions toward clean renewable energy.
The decision on the mine in the Cumbria area of northwest England came hours after the Conservative-led government reversed a ban on building new onshore wind farms in Britain. That was viewed by some opponents as a cynical attempt to offset criticism of the mine decision.
This report from Vanguard explains the struggle, quoting Nigeria’s former finance minister.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has accused western powers of being a stumbling block to Nigeria’s plan to improve power output through the use of coal. Adeosun said this on Wednesday in Washington during a discussion on the importance of addressing infrastructure gaps in developing countries at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund General Meetings.
She said that improving power supply was the corner stone of the current administration’s goal towards economic development, yet finding it difficult to get support from western community. “We want to build a coal power plant because we are a country blessed with coal, yet we have power problem. So it doesn’t take a genius to workout that it will make sense to build a coal power plant.
“However, we are being blocked from doing so, because it is not green. This is not fair because they have an entire western industralisation that was built on coal fired energy. “This is the competitive advantage that was used to develop Europe, yet now that Nigeria wants to do it, they say it’s not green, so we cannot.
“They suggest that we use solar and wind, which is the more expensive. So yes, Africa must invest in its infrastructure, but we must also make sure that the playing field is level,” she said. Adeosun said that in spite of the need for foreign borrowing to finance the country’s infrastructure gap, the strategy was to get the cheapest money.
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