Lithium is in top demand with the rise of electric cars and Zimbabwe is sitting on tons of the stuff. Potentially the 4th largest producer in the world, Zimbabwe is becoming more investor-friendly. A Lithium Mining investment deal was struck with Zimbabwe, it was announced at the Mining Indaba 2018, with more deals on the way.

Wilfried Pabst, chairperson of African Metals Management Services Limited says now is "the time to invest" in Zimbabwe, the Herald reports.

The annual Mining Indaba, held every year at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in the first week of February, is always an exciting time for the mining and mineral exploration sectors.

The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) attended and according to Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, most of the mining inquiries under the new government of the country have focussed on Lithium.

Lithium deal plus bankable feasibility studies for further investment

The main deal struck for the mining of lithium in Zimbabwe involves a foreign investor who will work lithium deposits worth $1,4 billion in Matabeleland North.

The Minister of Mines said that the project will involve the reworking of old dumps.

Two other lithium projects in Zimbabwe are undergoing exploration stage bankable feasibility studies. While the names of the investors have not been publicized at this time, they are a quoted company. The Herald reported that the first project is expected to "unlock more than $1,4 billion over the next few years," according to Minister Chitando.

Zimbabwe new government encouraging foreign Investment at Mining Indaba 2018

According to the new President of Zimbabwe, Ed Mnangagwa, at the Davos event in January, the country is "open for business." CNN reported that investor confidence is rising. This follows the 'bloodless coup' that saw the ousting of longtime Robert Mugabe last year.

In an interview with CNN's Richard Quest at the World Economic Forum, it was obvious that Zimbabwe is excited about a new future. Mnangagwa told CNN that the new government is set for "zero tolerance on corruption."

Artisanal miners keen for resurrection of mines

The oppressive rule by former leader Robert Mugabe saw many mines close their doors as foreign investors shut up shop and left in droves. The mine workers were left with no option but to try and wrest a living from the old workings themselves. I spoke to some of the people involved in this dangerous lifestyle, and all they want is for the mines to reopen. Nobody likes to see their wives and children scrabbling in the dirt to try and make a living in dangerous conditions.

Since late last year, there have been many meetings in Zimbabwe where people of all political persuasions are being encouraged to participate in both public and government forums to discuss the way forward for the country.

In Zimbabwe, the opening of the lithium mining sector is potentially just the beginning of a resurgence of the mining industry. The country is endowed with mineral wealth, that if properly managed, will help to turn the economy around.

As part of the investment deal which is expected to employ over 500 people, the investor will assist with local infrastructure development. The lithium mining venture is expected to "have an “immense” impact on the local economy, in the northern Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe.

Mining Global. com report that the country's "800 mines have the capacity to earn US$18 billion per annum."