ZIMBABWE has sealed two deals with Chinese companies running into millions of dollars for the off-take tantalite and chrome following the lifting of a four-year old export ban on chrome ore.
A Chinese company, CITIC International Corporation Limited yesterday signed a $28 million chrome and tantalite importation agreement with a Zimbabwean company Newton Mining in a deal expected to transform the fortunes of the country’s chrome sector.
Speaking after the signing ceremony at the China-Zimbabwe investment meeting yesterday, CITIC International general manager Anqi Fu said the agreement has a one year timeline.
“We signed a trade agreement or a Memorandum of Understanding to import some minerals from Zimbabwe to China with a Zimbabwean company, Newton Mining.
“We’re mostly looking at chrome and tantalite”.
The lifting of the ban on chrome ore exports also saw the Chinese company; Tsingshan and Steel International placing order of four million tonnes of chrome ore worth about $400 million from small-scale miners.
Another Chinese company, Sinosteel Corp, which is also China’s biggest chrome importer, acquired a stake in Zimasco Consolidated Enterprises Limited, a Mauritius-based holding company of Zimbabwe’s Zimasco.
The investments and agreements signed between Chinese companies and local companies in the chrome mining sector symbolise Chinese commitment in developing the country’s chrome mining sector.
Head of the Chinese business delegation that is currently in the country, Zhi Luxun said Zimbabwe remains one of China’s most important trading partners in Africa.
He said most Chinese corporations have expressed interest in doing business in Zimbabwe.
He, however, added that the government should work towards ensuring policy consistency to ensure smooth engagements in business.
“China is always willing to expand while opening up to the outside world and Zimbabwe has a great chance to exploit the available markets. It’s worth emphasizing that China is an open market,” said Luxun.
Recently Beijing Pinchang from China signed a tantalite and tin deal worth $102 million with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation over Kamativi Tin Mine.