DEPUTY Mines and Mining Development Minister Fred Moyo yesterday said chrome ore exports are moving at a “very slow” pace due to continued fall in global prices.
“The real challenge is low prices on the international market and it is very difficult (to enter into contracts) when you know the prices will continue sliding.
“Of course we have moved some tonnage, but we are not moving as we anticipated,” he said.
The last quarter of 2015 saw the average global price of chrome-ore experience severe pressure with prices falling from $175 to $120 per tonne and are likely to remain weak.
Some economic analysts say confidence is still fragile among the miners in light of weak global prices.
Zimbabwe resumed chrome ore exports early for the first time since 2011 when Government imposed ban of raw chrome exports to encourage beneficiation of the mineral.
The Government lifted the four-year ban on chrome ore exports in June last year to boost foreign earnings from the sector and enhance viability of small-scale miners.
While the Government had imposed the ban on chrome ore exports to encourage firms to beneficiate the mineral, the suspension had a negative impact on producers, particularly small-scale miners, some who were forced to shut down due to viability problems.
Small-scale miners could not sell their produce due to low smelting capacity in the country, leaving them with stocks of chrome ore and no alternative source of revenue.
Apart from lifting the export ban, Government scrapped the 20 percent export tax on raw chrome to restore viability, but the royalty rate was increased from 2 percent to 5 percent.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Zimbabwe’s exports are projected to improve this year on the back of improved performance gold, nickel, diamonds and ferro-chrome, chrome ore and fines, tobacco and horticultural produce.