Dosman Mangisi Chronicle Correspondent
THE government has guaranteed small-scale chrome producers a ready market.
Early this week, Zimasco lifted a trading ban on chrome ore producers on its claims paving way for the miners to sell the mineral to a buyer of their choice.
In the past, those mining on its claims could only sell the chrome to Zimasco and it was the company that set the prices.
In an interview, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said the government was putting in place all the necessary logistics to ensure the chrome miners were guaranteed a ready market.
“It’s a matter of time because right now it’s end of year, but we want to assure them that under Apple Bridge Investments, their chrome ore would be bought come 2016. A few issues have to be addressed to enable the new establishment to roll out the programme to buy chrome from the miners,” he said.
Minister Chidhakwa said through Apple Bridge Investments, the government was providing a $100 million special purpose vehicle to buy the mineral at international rates.
This was meant to economically empower the indigenous miners.
Of late, chrome producers in the country have cried foul over failure to get buyers for their chrome as the major buyers, Zimasco and ZimAlloys, are facing operational challenges.
The chrome miners have urged the government to assist in finding markets for their mineral.
Chrome is an important resource used in industrial processes such as electroplating to give the metal properties such as abrasion and wear resistance and corrosion protection. Zimbabwe has one billion tonnes of chrome ore, becoming the world’s second largest chrome ore reservoir after South Africa.
As part of beneficiation the government has called on companies to invest in smelting plants so that minerals such as chrome and platinum are exported in their raw form.