Lithium and Battery Minerals Value Chain Symposium “Unleashing the Growth Potential of the Battery Minerals Value Chain”


Opening Statement on Session Objectives and Focus

Lithium and Battery Minerals Value Chain Symposium “Unleashing the Growth Potential of the Battery Minerals Value Chain”

31 May 2023: Online Presentation

Shamiso Mtisi

My name is Shamiso Mtisi (Deputy Director at the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association). I am happy to be part of this session and happy to collaborate with the Chamber of Mines on this important event.

Our Session theme is: Strengthening Governance in the Batteries Minerals Value Chain and emerging global trends on responsible sourcing of critical minerals

Our objective, as ZELA is to create platforms where different stakeholders can discuss mineral governance sector issues from  national, regional and international perspectives. The amount of reported investments flows into the lithium sector in Zimbabwe has increased. We know there are ongoing legislative and policy reforms aimed at ensuring that the country benefits from mineral extraction and beneficiation in the country. Therefore, our idea in organising this session is to create a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform that includes companies, Government, civil society and other stakeholders to discuss recent developments in the sector. Investments in energy transition minerals are likely to result in benefits for the economy and may also bring about environmental, human rights, climate change and labour rights challenges if not managed well. Hence the theme of this session is responsible sourcing of critical minerals.

What has been missing in the lithium mining sector from a governance perspective is public and stakeholder discourse on how Zimbabwe can effectively benefit from the lithium rush and promote responsible mining and sourcing of lithium.

Given the global nature of the lithium supply chain from mine to the market, it is critical for the country to tap into ongoing global discussions and emerging opportunities presented by different markets, players and create strategic and beneficial partnerships in the value chain.  The country also needs to learn from countries where value chain partnerships, beneficiation research and legal reforms on critical minerals and responsible sourcing initiatives are ongoing. The strategic role of Zimbabwe’s lithium deposits in the global value chain and in economic growth is therefore an important discussion point.  We are driven by the desire for our country to develop using its natural resources and to attract responsible investments. We fully support Government’s recently launched Responsible Mining Audit aimed at enhancing compliance with national legislation and policies that promote responsible mining, but at the same time call for participation of civil society and communities in the process.

For this session, we have lined up key speakers from 2 critical players in the critical minerals value chain- namely representatives from the European Union and United States of America. We selected these two countries because they are developing national legislation or are involved in developing initiatives aimed at promoting responsible sourcing of critical minerals, including lithium. The EU has developed the Critical Raw Materials Act, while the USA is part of a new global initiative that seeks to promote responsible sourcing of critical minerals called the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP).

Our first speaker, who will join us online is Elisabetta SARTOREL. Elisabetta is Policy Officer, Raw Materials at the European Union.

Our second speaker will be Nicole G Johnson-Political and Economic Section Chief at the Embassy of the Unite States of America. She will speak about the Minerals Security Partnership.

Our third speaker will be Farai Mutondoro, Coordinator of ZELA’s research think tank-Africa Institute for Environmental Law. Farai will present the key findings of a study on lithium mining in Zimbabwe conducted by ZELA and the AIEL.

In advance, I want to thank the European Union and United States of America representatives for being patient with us as we changed session dates, times and themes over the past few months—all along trying to accommodate conflicting  schedules for all speakers at this Symposium.


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