In the first story of our Clean Energy Frontier series, we go to Zimbabwe, which is betting on the booming lithium industry to spur economic growth
On a dusty road in eastern Zimbabwe, Wonder Mushove stares at plumes of red dust billowing into the sky as dozens of trucks carrying lithium, also known as “white gold”, rumble past his home.
In this dry part of the country, where repeated droughts have brought misery for small-holder farmers, the lithium mining industry is promising local people a better life. And Mushove is hopeful.
Zimbabwe has Africa’s largest reserves of lithium – a lightweight metal, which can store lots of energy and is used to manufacture batteries for electric cars.
Chinese companies have invested millions to access Zimbabwe’s lithium. And the Southern African nation sees this rush for the critical mineral as an opportunity for economic improvements.
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But in the past, Zimbabwe has failed to turn its vast diamond and gold wealth into revenue for development. This time, the country wants to add value to its lithium reserves by processing them into battery-grade metals that can find a place in the EV supply chain.
In the first of a series of stories exploring the supply chains behind clean energy technologies, Andrew Mambondiyani reports from eastern Zimbabwe on the country’s ambitions for its rapidly growing lithium industry.
You can read the full story on a specially designed mini-site here and learn more about our Clean Energy Frontier series here. Watch out for more stories from India and Indonesia soon.
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