Zimbabwe's lithium mining faces scrutiny over environmental and social issues

Zimbabwe's rush for lithium, led by Chinese investors, overlooks crucial environmental and social standards, leading to community and worker unrest.

Tatenda Chitadu reports for Mongabay.


In short:

  • Locals and workers near the Bikita Minerals lithium mine accuse both the Zimbabwean government and Sinomine Resource Group of neglecting environmental and social standards amidst lithium mining expansion.
  • Despite Zimbabwe's economic reliance on lithium for growth, allegations of displacements, labor abuses, and environmental harm raise questions about the enforcement of laws and investment standards.
  • The government and mining companies are called to better adhere to and enforce environmental, social, and governance standards to prevent social and environmental conflicts.

Key quote:

"There are many challenges with the current hype about energy transition. It is not about us."

— Farai Maguwu, founding director of the Centre for Natural Resource Governance

Why this matters:

For a nation with one of the largest lithium reserves in Africa, the potential for job creation and foreign investment is substantial. However, the environmental and social implications of lithium mining are significant. Environmental concerns include water pollution, habitat destruction, and soil degradation, which can have long-term impacts on local ecosystems and biodiversity.

As nations worldwide strive to combat climate change by transitioning to renewable energy, they find themselves grappling with how to avoid repeating the mistakes of 150 years of fossil fuel production.

permafrost melt orange rivers
Credit: catolla/BigStock Photo ID: 40811500

Alaskan rivers turning orange due to climate change

Climate change is causing Alaska’s rivers to turn orange, posing serious risks to the state's ecosystems and rural communities.

Anumita Kaur reports for The Washington Post.

Keep reading...Show less
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less
Big Oil bankrolling Trump
Credit: maxxyustas/BigStock Photo ID: 138475457

Democrats investigate oil execs' support for Trump campaign funds

Congressional Democrats are probing oil industry executives about their potential contributions to Donald Trump's campaign in exchange for favorable policies.

Ben Lefebvre reports for Politico.

Keep reading...Show less

Heat waves threaten power grid stability with potential blackouts

Prolonged heat waves could increasingly cause blackouts by overheating power transformers, particularly in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas, new research indicates.

Harry Stevens reports for The Washington Post.

Keep reading...Show less

Young Alaskans file lawsuit to halt massive gas export project

Eight Alaskan youths are suing the state over a $38.7 billion gas export project, arguing it violates their constitutional rights by exacerbating climate change.

Dharna Noor reports for The Guardian.

Keep reading...Show less

Data gaps in US territories threaten climate resilience

Federal agencies often neglect to collect data in U.S. territories as comprehensively as they do for states, jeopardizing climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, a new GAO report reveals.

Anita Hofschneider reports for Grist.

Keep reading...Show less

Health risks increase as Brazil’s floodwaters recede

The first two deaths from leptospirosis have been reported in southern Brazil as floodwaters recede, with experts predicting a surge in fatalities.

Gabriela Sá Pessoa reports for The Associated Press

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
environmental justice pittsburgh

Environmental justice advocates find hope, healing and community in Pittsburgh

Advocates and researchers gathered to not only discuss ongoing fights but victories, self-care and cautious optimism about the path ahead.

air pollution pittsburgh

Amidst a controversial international sale, U.S. Steel falls behind in cleaner steelmaking

U.S. Steel’s proposed sale to Nippon Steel stokes concerns over labor rights and national security, all while the company continues to break clean air laws in Western Pennsylvania.

exxon houston petrochemicals

Spanish-speaking residents feel left out of permitting process at massive Exxon petrochemical plant in Houston-area

“It is important to ensure meaningful engagement efforts are inclusive and accessible to all diverse members of our communities.”

youth climate change

"Our lives might be on the line"

Eighth graders reflect on the state of the planet.

sargassum

After 13 years, no end in sight for Caribbean sargassum invasion

Thousands of people were hurt by sargassum blooms last year in the Caribbean.

youth climate change

“We should take care of what is precious to us"

Eighth graders reflect on the state of the planet.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.