Genesis Environment Consultancy is undertaking the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for Lynx Graphite Mine following the signing of a joint venture partnership between Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Fossil Mining Resources.
The development comes at a time when there is increased demand for graphite on the global market and ZMDC is looking at reviving all dormant mines under its portfolio.
“The EIA studies and mobilisation of resources to resuscitate the mine is underway. Genesis Environment Consultancy is the one carrying out the EIA,” ZMDC general manager Blessed Chitambira told Business Times.
Lynx Graphite Mine is currently under receivership. Cecil Madondo is the administrator.
Lynx Graphite Mine was a joint venture between ZMDC and Graphite Kropfmuhl GmbH Germany.
But the Germany company hived off its shareholding in 2017 as the economic crisis deepened.
Demand for graphite used as anode material in lithium ion batteries is set to increase by over 200% in the next four years as global cell production surges on the back of maturing pure electric vehicle demand and the inception of the utility storage market.
Graphite is a gray, crystalline, allotropic form of carbon that occurs as a mineral in some rocks and can be made from coke.
It is used as a solid lubricant, in pencils, as a moderator in nuclear reactors, in batteries, thermal management in consumer electronics, fire retardants and reinforcements in plastics.
The market for graphite is approximately one million tonnes per year, of which 60% is flake and 40% is amorphous.
Established in 1965, Lynx Mine has proven resources of up to 12 years that could extend to over 18 years.
Apart from Madagascar, there is no other graphite producer in Africa. A new operation is expected to be commissioned in Mozambique.
Analysts say lithium and Graphite are going to be strategic minerals for the country going forward.
The latest development at Lynx Mine comes as ZMDC continues to pursue partial privatisation of all its mining assets as part of its latest strategy to maximise the value of the assets.
Government on its part also has been on an aggressive partial privatisation of ZMDC’s mining assets as it seeks to improve the state mining arm’s operational efficiencies.
ZMDC is a State mining vehicle established by an Act of Parliament No. 31 of 1982.
It was formed to create a vibrant and versatile mining power house necessary to transform Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth to the world class standards.
The current efforts by the government comes at a time when the state mining arm’s working capital position has been a continuous mess while there is uncertainty on its ability to continue as a going concern, yet remains a company with the richest mining assets in the country.
Of late the government has also changed management at ZMDC coupled by the new board that has been aggressive in making sure the company starts contributing meaningfully to the country’s economy.
While the mining group’s condition continues to improve from the past mismanagement, ZMDC has rich mining assets across the country.
Recently the company registered a grand entrance in the platinum mining sector Great Dyke Investments Limited.
Since its formation ZMDC has faced challenges which affected its viability and capacity to significantly contribute to the economy. Some of the challenges have proven to be beyond the company’s control especially the indigenisation and economic empowerment legislation which has since been restructured.
ZMDC once owned 100% shareholding in Marange Resources and since 2005 the mining group has entered into joint venture agreements with international companies.
The State investment arm now partly owns Sabi Gold Mine, Jena Gold Mines and Elvington Gold Mine while it also holds approximately 26 000 hectares of platinum claims in the Hartley and Shurugwi chambers of the Great Dyke.