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Zim threatens chrome mining giants

18 April 2013, 11:40 Marcus Mushonga

Harare - The Zimbabwe government on says it is considering revoking claims allocated to the country’s two largest chrome mining companies because of serious viability problems.

Chrome miners Zimbabwe Alloys Limited (Zim Alloys) and Zimbabwe Mining and Alloy Smelting Company (Zimasco) are facing operational challenges with the former halting operations while the latter has scaled down mining activities.

The two companies hold about 76 per cent of chrome ore deposits in the country, an analyst says. Because of this competition in the sector has been stunted for years.

A lack of productivity by the two companies has pushed small scale miners to the forefront of the industry.

However a lack of smelting capacity in the country and the ban on chrome ore exports have not made it easy for the small scale miners to make progress.

To date the small scale miners are sitting on over 25 000 tonnes of chrome ore which they cannot export nor refine locally.

Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Gift Chimanikire said the claims could be profitably exploited by other serious investors who were waiting in the wings.

“We need to review the claims being held by Zimasco and Zim Alloys because they are not doing much on the mining side.

"Reports I have are that Zimasco has scaled down operations and Zim Alloys has not been operating for years,” Chimanikire said.

“Zimasco has a small smelter and they cannot set up a new, bigger one to cater for the chrome claims they have, so we need to see how other players can do in the sector.”

The Zimbabwe government has since adopted a use it or lose it policy as well as increasing mining fees to discourage speculation.

 – CAJ News


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