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Chrome exports ban under scrutiny

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The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy will today gather oral evidence from members of the public on the ban of chrome exports imposed this year by government.

Chairman of the committee, Guruve South MP, Edward Chindori-Chininga confirmed the development yesterday.

“The mines and energy committee will be holding these public hearings on chrome mining tomorrow,” said Chindori -Chininga.

“In attendance will be all major chrome and smelting companies such as Zimasco, ZimAlloys, small-scale chrome mines, as well as the seven medium-scale and small-scale Chinese alluvial chrome mining companies,” he said.

Last week, the committee gathered oral evidence on chrome mining in Zimbabwe from the secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Thankful Musukutwa, who said tonnes of chrome deposits were lying idle after the ban of exportation of raw chrome, as well as that hectares of land with vast chrome ore deposits lay underutilised in the Great Dyke.

Musukutwa also revealed that there were pricing discrepancies, whereby big companies like Zimasco and ZimAlloys underpaid small-scale miners who sold raw chrome to them.

He said most Chinese small-scale miners extracting chrome in the Great Dyke were not registered with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development due to a loophole in the country’s laws, which allowed claim holders to keep their claims even though no work was being done as long as they paid licence fees for them.

The Chinese then buy those claims from Zimbabweans and continue mining in the area.

Musukutwa said the ban had been effected to protect the country from losing millions of dollars’ worth of revenue through exporting raw chrome as there was no smelting equipment to refine the chrome before exportation.

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