Zimbabwe has effectively prohibited the exportation of raw lithium immediately amid a recent rush for the new precious resource.
Now, under a new legal instrument – Statutory Instrument 213 of 2022: “No lithium bearing ores, or unbeneficiated lithium whatsoever, shall be exported from Zimbabwe to another country except under written permit of the Minister”.
The SI seeks to call for a more serious approach to mineral beneficiation in order for the country to narrow its trade deficit by exporting more valuable minerals.
“On written application by any party— (a) wishing to export samples of lithium bearing ore or unbeneficiated lithium for assaying outside Zimbabwe; or (b) to a miner or exporter of lithium upon production of written proof satisfactory to the Minister that there are exceptional circumstances justifying the exportation in question and that the lithium bearing ores or unbeneficiated lithium in question have been valued in terms of section 12D(3) of the Value Added Tax Act [Chapter 23:12] for purposes of payment of the export tax on unbeneficiated lithium, that is to say— the market value thereof on the date of exportation has been determined by reference to a reputable metals exchange; or (ii) its value is reflected on any document required to be delivered in terms of the Customs and Excise Act [Chapter 23:02] for its exportation under that Act.”
This order may be cited as the Base Minerals Export Control (Unbeneficiated Lithium Bearing Ores) Order, 2022.
“Section 6 of the principal Act provides that any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any order or with the terms and conditions of any permit issued to him or her under an order shall be guilty of an offence and liable to— (i) a fine not exceeding level 9 or twice the value of the base minerals in respect of which the offence is committed, whichever is the greater; or (ii) imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years; or to both such fine and such imprisonment,” reads the SI.
Minerals still make up the bulk of Zimbabwe’s exports.
Economist Prosper Chitambara previously said, “Beneficiation and value addition of minerals before exporting is one of the key pillars of accelerating economic development.
“The major challenge to value addition has been the lack of huge incentives to lure potential investors into it and incentives that can encourage miners to add value to their produce locally.” – Harare