PRESS RELEASE: ZELA’s Analysis of Legal Developments and the Implications of the lithium mining rush in Zimbabwe now out


For immediate release


The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has produced a situational report that provides an account of the lithium rush in Zimbabwe by artisanal, small-scale, and large-scale miners as well as the associated legal and policy developments. The research also assesses the potential and actual impacts of lithium mining and exploration and provides insights and perspectives from local communities that should be considered in the wider discussion of energy transition, sustainability, technology development and climate change.

ZELA believes that having adequate policies and laws in place and monitoring operationalization of these are the first steps towards good governance of the environment and natural resources. Therefore, the organization has been continuously providing evidence on natural resource management and possible legal interventions on behalf of communities in line with its mission of promoting equitable, just, and sustainable environmental and natural resources management and protection of marginalized communities and citizens in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa. 

The recently published situational report titled “Implications of the Lithium Mining Rush in Zimbabwe: Analysis of Legal Developments,” also proffers recommendations on best practice in lithium mining which would enable the country to realize maximum economic benefits through responsible and sustainable mining practices.

“There is a need for the government to develop a critical minerals development strategy that clearly defines the need for responsible mining practices, value addition and beneficiation plans. This strategy should also allow for public access to information to increase transparency and strengthen the fiscal and mining regime to harness the country’s lithium potential,” reads the report.

To ensure an all-inclusive analysis, ZELA mapped lithium exploration and mining projects in Zimbabwe, visited the sites and provided case studies of some lithium mining activities in the country including Sandawana Mine in Mberengwa and other sites in Bikita, Mutoko and Chiredzi.

These site visits enabled ZELA to establish key emerging issues in the lithium value chain such as the need for value addition and beneficiation of lithium, the need to curb haphazard marketing and trade of lithium and the need to lessen the risks of corruption, illicit trade and smuggling of lithium. Another emerging issue highlighted is the importance of meeting responsible mining, sourcing, and human rights standards in lithium mining, among many other issues.

Consequently, the report proffered recommendations for the country to take full advantage of the emerging opportunities presented by lithium mining in Zimbabwe, focusing on actions that can be taken by the Government of Zimbabwe, lithium mining companies, the Environmental Management Agency, miners, and civil society organizations to realize sustainable economic benefit for all.

As a premier environmental law organization, ZELA focused on the legal developments in the lithium sector and managed to debunk the effects of some legal provisions while giving reference and comparison to sector related legal developments in other jurisdictions.


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: 

Shamiso Mtisi Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association Deputy Director (ZELA) Mob: +263 788 087 050

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association

Creating a legacy in using the law for environmental protection and sustainable natural resources governance.”

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