Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
President Emmerson Mnangagwa was quoted as saying at an initial landmark ceremony of Arcadia Lithium Mine in Goromonzi that the initial investment of $ 165 million would be put into the project.
The project, which is being spearheaded by the Australian company, Prospect Resources, is expected to employ over 700 people in its first phase and construction of other amenities such as roads, schools and houses.
President Mnangagwa said that the opening of the mine was in line with the Government's policy to industrialize the country.
"The opening of this new mine is in line with my Government's quest to leapfrog the industrialization and modernization of the country," he said. "I commend Prospect Resources Limited for this milestone achievement that will go a long way towards the development of our country.
"Zimbabwe is host to abundant natural resources and highly diversified mineral resources that lithium is one of them."
President Mnangagwa said that lithium was expected to be one of the key mining sub-sectors that will play a major role in the turnaround of the economy.
He said that mining was critical to the achievement of the Vision 2030 of making the country a top-middle income economy.
"In this regard, we continue to implement comprehensive reforms to enhance our country's competitiveness in this and other sectors in the context of regional and global trends," said President Mnangagwa.
He commended the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and other stakeholders for expediting the opening of the mine.
"In keeping with the spirit of our continuing ease and cost of doing business reforms, I applaud the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and other regulatory entities to effectively facilitate and complete regulatory approvals to enable this project to kick-start," he said. .
"This in-turn allowed investors to consolidate their preparatory work and mobilize project financing, resulting in this land-breaking ceremony."
President Mnangagwa urged the investors to timely start production.
"I look forward to the immediate launch of this project with the setting up of an open cast mine that will be part of an integrated project, which also includes mineral processing plants," he said.
"As the project is implemented, wealth and job creation as well as the improved standard of living of our people must be inseparable components of your business model.
"I have heard that more than 700 jobs will be created and it will be mostly local and as government we are thankful for that."
President Mnangagwa said that other benefits of the project included transfer of technologies and skills and the development of new competencies.
We urge mining companies to create value links links and strategic partnerships with higher education institutions through deliberate training to equip local people with the requisite skills and technical know-how, "he said. .
President Mnangagwa encouraged investor coming into the country to promote inclusive economic growth and empowerment of locals.
Zimbabwe has one of the largest lithium reserves in Africa, with confirmed deposits in Bikita, Goromonzi and Kamativi.
The Arcadia Mine is expected to produce 2.5 million tons of lithium per year when it reaches optimum production.