Wednesday , April 24 2024

Govt bans export of unprocessed critical minerals

Government has banned the export of unprocessed lithium and other critical minerals, as it seeks to profit from growing global demand for metals used in clean energy technologies.

“Cabinet approved the prohibition of the export of certain critical minerals such as unprocessed crushed lithium ore, cobalt, manganese, graphite and rare earth minerals,” a statement from the information ministry has announced.

Despite the significant deposits of lithium, which is vital for renewable energy storage, as well as rare earth minerals such as dysprosium and terbium needed for permanent magnets in the batteries of electric cars and wind turbines, government says only small quantities of the specified minerals would be allowed, after approval by the mines minister.

The development comes on the heels of the government signing an agreement to supply rare earth minerals to the European Union under the bloc’s plan to reduce its reliance on China for critical minerals.

Some firms with critical minerals projects in the country include the Australia-listed Prospect Resources, Arcadia Minerals and Askari Metals. Celsius Resources and Namibia Critical Metals are developing cobalt and rare earth projects, respectively.

Zimbabwe also banned lithium ore exports last December, allowing only concentrates to be shipped out. Authorities in Zimbabwe want lithium miners operating in the country to work towards producing battery-grade lithium locally and could impose a tax on exports of lithium concentrate in future.

The local extractive industry is one of the top global producers of uranium and gem-quality diamonds, but its battery metals are attracting growing interest as the world shifts away from polluting fuels to renewable energy.


By: Michael Mondoloka

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