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The current position: Homepage > News > Industry News > China to spend $20-million on acquiring ferrochrome smelters in Zimbabwe

China to spend $20-million on acquiring ferrochrome smelters in Zimbabwe

Time:Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:04:37 +0800

Chinese chrome processor Afro-Chine Smelting says it is to spend more than $20-million on acquiring and building six chrome smelters in Zimbabwe, two of which will be commissioned in the country’s Midlands province in July, initially producing up to 50 000 t/y of ferrochrome.

Afro-Chine Smelting, a subsidiary of China’s second-biggest stainless steel products manufacturer, Tsingshan Group, says four more smelters will be set up in Zimbabwe during the course of this year as it moves to position itself as a leader in ferrochrome production in the Southern African Develop- ment Community (SADC) region.

Afro-Chine chairperson Philip Man told a media briefing in Harare that components for the first two smelters were en route to Zimbabwe from China and were expected to arrive at the end of April.

Erection, he said, would be completed by the end of June, paving the way for the commissioning in July. “Our smelting plant will be the largest in the country and perhaps the largest or second-largest in SADC region. We will be buying material from small-scale chrome producers and we will also support them to improve production and quality,” Man said.

To avoid disruption of factory operations as a result of load-shedding, Man said, Afro-Chine Smelting had been assured of uninterrupted power supply, following negotiations with the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission & Distribution Company.

Afro-Chine Smelting operations director Benson Xu Kemin said the company expected to process 100 000 t/y of chrome ore when it attained full production. He said the company had already started stockpiling chrome ore ahead of the commissioning of the first two smelters in July.

The Chinese investment comes at a time when the Zimbabwe government is demanding that chrome mining companies set up smelters in the country to ensure pre-export beneficiation in a bid to boost government revenue.

Meanwhile, a year-old ban on raw chrome exports is set to be lifted later this month following a massive outrcy from small-scale miners, who complained that they did not have the capital and technical capacity to build and run smelters.

Addressing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy at a diamond conference in eastern Zimbabwe recently, Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Prince Mupazviriho said Cabinet had “agreed that we need to review the current ban on chrome exports [which was imposed] on the basis that we need to ensure that beneficiation takes place”.

“We are looking at the modalities of removing the ban,” Mupazviriho said.

Mupazviriho also said the Zimbabwe government was mulling a complete repeal of the Mines and Minerals Act and replacing it with legislation that also covered precious minerals and did away with the current situation, whereby some minerals were governed by under their own Acts, such as the Diamond Act.

The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development also intended amending the Precious Stones Trade Act.

“The new Mines and Minerals Act will provide a user-friendly mining environ- ment, enforce the ‘use it or lose it’ principle, present more investment-focused legisla- tion based on a win-win principle and allow issues of levies and taxes to be dealt within regulations so as to reflect prudence in the application of mineral rents. It will also formalise small-scale mining operations,” said Mupazviriho.

Under the proposed Act, the Ministry plans to introduce a computerised mining cadastre system to modernise the country’s mining title management system. Govern- ment hopes the new system will, besides others, eradicate the problem of multiple allocation of mining titles to prospective investors.