MINERS have called on the government to address the cost structure of beneficiating minerals into final products, saying a high cost structure was deterrent.
by BLESSED MHLANGA
African Chrome Fields, national projects director and Moti Group CEO, Ashruf Kaka, speaking on the sidelines of the just-ended mining indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, said the high cost of power especially for chrome miners deterred beneficiation.
“Beneficiation has to be there so that its economically viable it must be able to make commercial sense to be able to achieve it, as an idea, as a concept its perfect, as an economic tool for growth it’s a good thing to have, an excellent thing, but practically to achieve and how much it costs you to achieve, is very important,” Kaka said.
Chrome producers have been crying foul over the high cost of power which has left most in the red and struggling to stay afloat as electricity bills erode their profits.
The country’s largest chrome producer Zimasco had to shed off over 600 jobs and was forced to rent out part of its smelting plant as Chrome prices tumbled on the international market.
Kaka who hosted an investors breakfast on mining last week said ACF invested in benefaction in the country.
“Currently in Zimbabwe people are beneficiating but at what cost, are they making money, some of them are under judicial management, some of them have not paid their debts in terms of electricity, so when you look at all of that and you do the sums, you actually ask yourself whether its actually viable to achieve. So we must not fool ourselves beneficiation must be real, it must be calculated and commercially viable,” he said.
ACF is in the process of setting up a chrome smelting plant which Kaka, said would be completed by March.
The plant will not use expensive electricity to beneficiate chrome ore into high grade ferro chrome.