Small Scale Miners Strangulated By Lithium Blanket Ban
19 March 2023
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By Business Reporter | Zimbabwe’s small scale miners are suffering strangulation after the government bottlenecked industry exports.

Henrietta Rushwaya

In an appeal to the govt, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya said the unexpected Statutory Instrument (SI) 5 of 2023 — Base Minerals Export Control (Unbeneficiated Base Mineral Ores), in particular, in the export of raw lithium ore, had grounded miners’ business life.

In the appeal, she stated that the unexpected ban has prejudiced standing off-take agreements between miners and international buyers some of whom had taken loans from their respective countries to finance trade in these minerals.

Some miners have found themselves stuck with huge stockpiles thus locking Cash Flows and affecting operations,the statement reads.

It continues stating:

The temporary moratorium will unlock foreign Currency earnings to boost market liquidity and expand Government’s revenue base through royalty fee payments and associated taxes.

Establishment of Processing Plants take between 6 months to 12 months to commission. The current market for lithium is outside Zimbabwe and companies need to export the mineral to raise capital to build the plants.

Livelihoods of small-scale miners involved in mining base minerals have been negatively impacted by the ban since the trading of the minerals was halted.

Commenting recently, the Centre for Natural Resource Governance Director, Farai Maguwu says of the Lithium ban in areas such as Mberengwa, Goromonzi and UMP:

“If your own people can extract why do u need a foreign investor? The hard working people of Zim have proved once again that they have capacity to extract mineral resources from the ground to support their families & build their country.

“The only noble thing government shld have done was to support them by regulating their activities. Even better, govt could buy the lithium ore from the villagers, take it to processing plants for crushing and build its own lithium ore stockpiles.

“And now after chasing away villagers who had gathered their lithium, the untouchables are now harvesting the blood and sweat of the poor. This only happens in the gungle where an animal toils to bring down its prey only to be chased by a more powerful predator.”