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19 Aoû 2019

Farai Maguwu, TrustAfrica

Investigating Illicit Financial Flows in Zimbabwe's Lithium Mining Sector

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Bikita Minerals, a subsidiary of Africa Resources (Pvt) Ltd, boasts of a world class lithium pegmatite resource and was once the largest producer of petalite and lepidolite in the world. However lithium is not listed among the products exported by Bikita Minerals, raising a strong possibility that the high value mineral is being exported illicitly as petalite... The reluctance of Bikita Minerals to venture into value addition and beneficiation vis-a-vis the Zimbabwe government's thrust on beneficiation... points to some underhand deals between the company and its clients who are deriving extreme financial benefits from the unprocessed products from Bikita Minerals... [T]here is a possibility Bikita Minerals is seriously under-invoicing its exports in addition to failure to declare its high grade lithium to Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), thereby prejudicing Zimbabwe of revenue which can run into tens of millions of dollars annually...The Zimbabwe government ought to take a firm stand against illicit financial flows if domestic resource mobilization is to yield results. Tough punitive measures must be put in place to deal with any individuals and businesses found to be undermining the economic interests of the country through failure to fully declare the exact value of their mining export.