Zimbabwe’s largest lithium mine, Bikita Minerals which recently announced the suspension of its operations, has denied reports suggesting that the government forced them to shut down.
In an interview, Bikita Minerals Mine Manager, David Mwanza, dismissed these claims as false. He stated that the mine voluntarily sought permission from the government to suspend operations for a week in order to address administrative issues and review the working arrangements with contracted companies.
Mwanza further emphasized that the mine will ensure workers are remunerated for the duration they are required to stay at home during this period. However, the veracity of these statements has come into question.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union (ZIDAMWU) expressed hope that the hiatus would be utilized to address various concerns that have been troubling workers at the mine.
In a separate incident preceding the mine’s suspension of operations, police in Masvingo arrested 17 individuals who were allegedly found in possession of a significant amount of lithium, some of which is suspected to be linked to the Bikita entity. The connection between these arrests and the mine’s shutdown is yet to be established.
Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.