US billionaire Elon Musk has reportedly shown interest in Zimbabwe’s lithium mining industry, with ruling Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa revealing talks are already underway between him and President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The South African-born head of technology giant Tesla was said to have made overtures that had been responded to by Mnangagwa, in what could be a massive win for the financially strapped country.
Musk is the founding Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tesla, a clean energy company specialising in the manufacture of electric vehicles, solar and other off-grid technologies.
With Zimbabwe increasingly identifying new deposits of the ‘new white gold,’ interest in its mining ventures has been wide, with particular interest from China which houses major players in lithium battery manufacturing.
Speaking to journalists at Zanu PF’s routine press conference Thursday, Mutsvangwa used Musk’s move to scoff at those he claimed had wished Zimbabwe remains a pariah state.
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“The latest billionaire to show interest in our lithium is none other than Tesla boss Elon Musk,” said Mutsvangwa.
“He has made overtures to our president and our president has sent a message to him that if he wants to come to invest in Zimbabwe it is open season, after all, he is a son of this region, he is originally South African.
“He wants to be part of this revolution; he has wider interests too. He is Afrikaner and we have had Afrikaner farmers. He wants all issues about Zimbabwe’s land reform settled, he wants peace and prosperity for the region.
“Those who had thought that Zimbabwe will remain a pariah state have been disappointed, it has changed completely, it is now a favourite destination.”
Musk’s interest has been interpreted as the culmination of Mnangagwa’s re-engagement strategy. It was coined soon after his ascendancy with hope Zimbabwe could be re-admitted into the international community after decades of isolation.
Already a Chinese billionaire whose name was not shared is reportedly interested in lithium producing Zulu Mine, located about 80km from Bulawayo.
“These are movers and shakers; they make the world go round.
“All these billionaires are coming to Zimbabwe as a result of goodwill by Mnangagwa. It is a good thing,” added Mutsvangwa.
With Zimbabwe recording the highest number of projects under exploration, experts have estimated that Zimbabwe could meet 20% of global lithium demand. – NewZim