China is winning Africa’s “white-gold” rush for lithium


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A visit to the district of Goromonzi, in north-east Zimbabwe, is a lesson in economic history. Its fallow fields hint at the decay that followed the government’s seizure of white-owned farms more than two decades ago. In the surrounding hills ad hoc campsites reveal the sites of artisanal gold-miners, digging for the same yellow metal that led British colonists to cross the Limpopo river in the 19th century. Today the rush is on for “white gold". Every day scores of lorries rumble through Goromonzi, carrying lithium bound for China, where most of the metal is refined for use in batteries...