CHROME exports more than trebled to $42 million in February, up from $10 million in the same period last year on the back of increased output, a government official has said.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
In January, chrome exports were at $28 million from $7 million in 2015.
In an interview, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa said the performance of chrome was on target to reach $300 million on exports by year-end.
“Chrome has performed very well, in January last year we were on $7 million of ferrochrome on exports and we are on $28 million as of January this year and February we have gone up to $10 million last year and this year we are $42 million worth of exports.
“We are on target to reaching our $300 million target for exports. We think it’s going to be even better especially after finishing the allocation of the chrome concession that we are repossessing from the two chrome companies,” Chidakwa said.
Chrome producers in 2016 contributed $30 million to the fiscus, translating to 1% of Zimbabwe’s mineral value.
Meanwhile, the government has seized 50% of chrome ore claims held by Zimasco, which it will now parcel out to small-scale chrome miners as special grants.
Another chrome smelter, ZimAlloys, according to Chidakwa is yet to release 50% of its chrome ore claims.
ZimAlloys owns 1 052 claims covering 39 175 hectares, while Zimasco owns 2 530 claims covering 68 655 hectares.
Zimasco has complied with government and ZimAlloys is yet to comply with the directive.
Chidakwa said government was not going back on its directive.
“I have said before that the policy is a government policy and it does not select between the two companies, both of them must comply with government policy and at this point and time I’m ready to say if they do not comply we will activate the necessary provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act which enable us to repossess mining locations that have been abandoned including the concessions that are in that mining location,” he said.
“So we have written to ZimAlloys advising them that we are triggering the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act to enable us to act. I would rather they act fast and I hope they will act fast.”
Chidakwa said government has reactivated five smelters out of the six that are owned by Zimasco.