Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
ZIMASCO management has dismissed as false, reports circulating on social media platforms claiming that the ferrochrome smelting company is set to resume operations by the end of this month.
Zimasco temporarily suspended operations at the beginning of March after the global pandemic, coronavirus, took its toll across the globe resulting in reduced demand for the product.
Maintenance work that is currently being carried out at the Kwekwe plant, resulted in some suggesting that the company was ready to commence production on June 25.
Responding to emailed questions, Zimasco general manager (marketing and administration) Ms Clara Sadomba, said on the contrary, dates for resumption of production were yet to be set.
“At the end of March 2020, Zimasco temporarily halted its smelting and related mining operations in response to weak global demand and resultant low prices for ferrochrome, which made continued production unviable.
“The weak demand was further exacerbated by the negative impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic, which saw the International Monetary Fund forecast that the global economy will see a three percent contraction for 2020, as numerous economies across the globe have been adversely affected,” said Ms Sadomba.
She said maintenance work that was taking place at the Kwekwe plant was part of the maintenance work, which saw some people concluding that the company was readying for re-opening.
“Smelting operations, by their nature, must run continuously for maximum efficiency. As such when they are subjected to extended outages as we currently have at our Kwekwe Smelter, this is an opportunity for extensive maintenance work to be carried out. This is the activity that is currently taking place at Kwekwe Division,” said Ms Sadomba.
She added that management would continue monitoring demand trends before making informed decisions as to when to resume operations.
“Zimasco management continue to observe market trends and the furnaces will be restarted as soon as it makes business sense to do so. As of now, the restart date of the furnaces has not been decided,” said Ms Sadomba.
She said the company was aware of Covid-19 and has put in place a comprehensive policy and guidelines aimed at prevention, control and management of the pandemic.
“The company is very cognisant of the dangers posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and has put in place a comprehensive policy and guidelines aimed at prevention, control and management of the pandemic. The guidelines are specific to each of our various operations, are aligned to the national action as expounded through the various regulations of the Public Health Act [Chapter 15:17] and World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on Covid-19,” said Ms Sadomba.