Zimbabwe has been “sleeping” on troves of deposits of rare-earth elements (REE), President Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed.
Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg on the sidelines of the 12th US-Africa Business Summit, which ended on Friday in Maputo, Mozambique, Mnangagwa said:
Recently, I have been happily surprised. I was talking to some of the American businesspeople who are at this conference (12th US-Africa Business Summit) who were saying, look, besides China, I think Zimbabwe is second in having what they call rare-earth minerals, and they say these are very valuable, but we have been sleeping on them; we didn’t know that they were useful.
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Anyway, this is an early discovery as far as we are concerned at Government level and policy level, but I am informed that this is a very lucrative discovery and we should begin to look at how we can exploit (them) because; one, we don’t have the technology; two, we don’t have the skills; three, we don’t even know what we have, except what we were told by other people that we have, so it is quite pleasant that we have that . . .
REEs, according to reports, are used in a wide range of industries.
Some are used in many devices that people use every day such as computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, and fluorescent lighting, among others.
They are also used in defence industries, for instance, in well-advanced countries such as the United States of America where they are used to manufacture night-vision goggles, precision-guided weapons, communications equipment, GPS equipment, batteries, and other defence electronics.