from DANAI MWARUMBA in Harare
HARARE – ENDOWED with vast coal deposits and the largest lithium deposits in Africa, Zimbabwe is earmarked to address power supply challenges in the region and contribute to the global energy transition.
This has been a prevailing theme during a working visit to the Southern African country by the African Energy Chamber Executive (AEC) Chairman, NJ Ayuk.
He met among other leaders, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to discuss extensive investment opportunities across the renewable, natural gas and mining sectors.
Ayuk assured the upcoming African Energy Week (AEW) 2021 conference and exhibition set for Cape Town in November would position Zimbabwe as a top investment priority, driving development across multiple energy sectors.
Ayuk’s meeting with Mnangagwa focused on Zimbabwe’s energy potential and delineated strategies by which this potential can be achieved.
Of particular interest was Zimbabwe’s lithium deposits, which according to the International Trade Administration, are the largest in the continent.
With the rapid increase in global demand given the mineral’s importance to the energy-battery industry, the country is seen as boasting the potential to become a major exporter, while contributing to the global energy shift.
Zimbabwe has five of the 18 lithium projects in the continent. The largest is Bikita mine in Masvingo province.
It has reserves of 10,8 million tonnes of lithium ore and a lithium content of 150 000 tonnes. Other projects are Arcadia, Kamaviti, Odzi West and the Zulu lithium/tantalum project.
With some 30 billion tonnes of coal in 21 known deposits, which could have a lifespan of over 100 years, Zimbabwe’s coal reserves have the potential to address energy supply challenges and meet demand across the region.
Ayuk’s visit also initiated a dialogue on renewable energy.
Zimbabwe has huge hydro-power potential – estimated at 18, 500 GWh per year, of which 17 500 GWh is technically feasible.
With further potential from the Zambezi River and several small-scale prospects across the country, the resource is projected to position the country as a regional renewable competitor.
Ayuk pledged AEW 2021’s commitment to promoting Zimbabwe.
He said with established sectors requiring upgrades, and emerging sectors seeking international participation and investment, the country offered significant potential for both regional and international players.
“By showcasing these opportunities at Africa’s premier energy event, AEW 2021 aims to drive investment in Zimbabwe, initiating energy sector expansion and diversification,” Ayuk stated.
Mnangagwa’s government has declared a commitment to developing a robust energy sector to meet rising power demand and grow the economy.
The administration has struggled for investment following economic and political crisis in recent.
– CAJ News