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Accepted Paper:

The Political Economy of Chinese and Western Mining Firms’ Investments in Lithium Mining in Southern Zimbabwe  
Armstrong Mudzengerere (EIMAS (European Interdisciplinary Master African Studies))

Paper short abstract:

This study examines the power dynamics and changes for local communities in the extant geopolitics of critical resources.

Paper long abstract:

Presently, debates have risen around the ongoing geopolitics of “white gold” in the global energy policy discourse, in which lithium has become a key commodity for energy transitions. Though not a new phenomenon in Africa, the novel lithium rush in Zimbabwe like any other extractive commodity is imbued in the tales of extremes and enclaves in which: extractives have been historically and concurrently characterized by legacies of exclusionary enclaves, land degradation, accumulation by dispossession, contamination of waterways and the somehow fleeting comforts of prosperity. Given this caveat. The study seeks to fill the gap in literature by analyzing the politics of and the different forms of corporate social responsibility, environmental responsibility and sustainable business approaches of both Western and Chinese mining companies in lithium extraction and processing in Zimbabwe. This will help to explain how the government, companies are approaching, advancing environmental, social and corporate mining standards in lithium extraction and the ways in which communities now either act to obstruct, or themselves become entangled in extractive industrialism. Currently the paradox is on how to strike a balance between shifting policy directions in the mining for the energy transition, the promotion of responsible mining practices, investments in critical resources and the case for community engagement through communities being accorded opportunities for effective participation in the creation of a shared value.

Panel P27
The extractive politics of Africa’s energy transition: A new dawn or more of the same?
  Session 2 Friday 28 June, 2024, -