Zim welcomes lift on export chrome ban

HARARE – Zimbabwe miners and other economic stakeholders have hailed government’s move to immediately lift a ban on the export of the mineral as it will enable them to raise funds to increase smelting capacity.

Morgan Moyo, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation vice president, said the lifting of the ban would help bring revive the chrome industry which is teetering on the blink of collapse.
“Now that the ban has been lifted there is going to be competition on the market. As a result, this will go a long way in assisting small-scale producers to dispose of the 50 000 tonnes of raw chrome which had accumulated as a result of the ban,” he said.
Miti Mangemba, a director with chrome mining company, Mhlanga and Sons, whose operations are in Lalapanzi, Shurugwi and Zvishavane, said the lifting of the ban will allow them greater participation in producing as well as establishing smelting facilities from funds obtained through export sales.

“Government has facilitated a win-win situation in terms of competitive pricing of chrome ore, their timely intervention should be lauded,” Mangemba said.

He added that “In line ZimAsset’s value addition thrust, we will be able to generate the much need foreign currency and use it to fund expansion of our operations so that we add value to the mineral. I believe prices will improve as local buyers will be challenged to offer competitive prices”.

Mangemba noted that local chrome buyers, particularly Chinese were taking advantage of the chrome exports ban by offering prices ranging from $30 to $45 per tonne.

This comes as on Tuesday Mines minister Walter Chidakwa announced the temporary lifting of the ban on the export of chrome ore as part of efforts to revive mining operations of the mineral.
The ban was introduced four years ago by government as part of strategies to encourage value addition on the country’s minerals.

“It is hoped that the temporary lifting of the ban on chrome ore exports should generate additional foreign currency,” Chidakwa told reporters on Tuesday.

Chidhakwa, who also scrapped a 20 percent export tax on the metal, said royalties on chrome would rise to five percent from two percent.

Zimbabwe, which holds the second largest chrome ore reserves after South Africa, banned the export of raw chrome in April 2011, urging mining companies to process the metal locally but many firms have been forced to close, citing a lack of smelting capacity, high production costs and power shortages.

Currently, Zimbabwe has a chrome ore production capacity which is estimated at 1,5 million metric tonnes per year and a limited smelting capacity at 455,200 metric tonnes per year.

Chidakwa said the lifting of the ban is to allow for exportation of up to 30 million tonnes over and above the export of processed ferrochrome.
“The threshold of up to 30 million tonnes of chrome ore shall be subject to review based on desired developments in the establishment of additional smelting capacity in the country,” he said.

To this end, Chidakwa noted that 12 chrome ore producers and a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) established by government shall be registered with the Mines ministry to export excess chrome ore.

“However, in order to encourage greater participation by small-scale producers, a well-monitored purchase and sale structure shall be put in place by Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) in due course,” he said.

Chidakwa said government had also directed power utility Zesa Holdings to reduce electricity tariffs from eight cents to 6,7 cents per kilowatt hour for chrome ore producers with immediate effect.

Comments (1)

WHAT IS THE CURRENT US$ PRICE / MT OF CHROME CONCENTRATE EX WORKS GWERU AND LALAPANZI ?

BARRY HIRST - 28 July 2016

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