Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY – A driver from Chinese-owned mining company Xinfeng Investments has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of 25 tonnes of lithium, which he was reportedly transporting to Walvis Bay. Erongo police chief Nikolaus Kupembona confirmed the incident to New Era yesterday, saying more arrests could follow this week. He said the lithium was stolen from the company’s operations at Farm Kohero in the Omaruru district between Tuesday and Thursday last week.
The incident was reported by Zuxiao Li, a fellow worker at the mine. Lithium is currently one of the most sought-after ores as it is being used in the batteries of electrical vehicles, laptops, phones, glass and ceramic industries. Speculation is that the stolen lithium was part of the 135 000 tonnes currently being exported to China for testing purposes. About 75 000 tonnes still needed to be exported.
According to Kupembona, the driver was expected to deliver the lithium in Walvis Bay, but instead delivered it to an unknown location in the Karibib area without the company’s consent. The lithium is said to be worth N$300 000, and only a portion of it has been recovered thus far. “The driver was arrested, and is expected to appear today in the Omaruru Magistrate’s Court,” he said. The abandoned truck was found in Walvis Bay.