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Can Zimbabwe Emulate Indonesia’s Tough Approach to Chinese Miners?

Indonesian President Joko Widodo confirmed an export ban for bauxite starting in June next year as scheduled, to encourage domestic processing. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

The Chinese mining company Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt is chafing under pressure from the Zimbabwean government to convert its lithium mining operation in the country into a plant producing battery-grade lithium within five years.

The company at present, only has plans to build a concentrator plant to process raw lithium ore at its Arcadia mine outside of Harare. It says refining it further to battery levels is “unfeasible” due to a weak supply of electricity and other inputs.

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