Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT has set an annual target of 2 million tonnes for ferrochrome production as authorities prime the chromium sector to play a key role in the country’s economic revival.
Government is targeting to leverage the economy on the country’s vast mining potential and has set to grow exports from the sector from US$3,2 billion in 2018 to US$4,2 billion this year and then US$12 billion per annum from 2023 onwards.
With Zimbabwe being the host to the world’s second largest chrome ore resource at about 900 million tonnes out of a global estimate of 7,5 billion tonnes, the chrome and chromium subsector are expected to play a key role towards the attainment of the US$12 billion annual exports.
In an interview with The Herald Business, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said Government is targeting a boom in the production of ferrochrome that will culminate into two million tonnes per year.
“Government is targeting an increase in ferrochrome production from around 370 000 tonnes last year to about 450 000 tonnes this year,” Minister Chitando said.
“This is in line with Government’s strategic plans to achieve initially one million tonnes of ferrochrome production doubling up to two million per annum for export and use in steel production,” he said.
Minister Chitando’s projections will be boosted by the growth that is already being registered in ferrochrome production this year compared to last year.
As reported in this paper yesterday, statistics from state marketing agent Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) show that high carbon ferrochrome exports have registered a 35 percent jump in the first four months of the year compared to the same period last year.
The statistics also show that business is heeding Government’s call to beneficiation as exports of concentrates and lumpy plunged by 52 percent.
In an earlier interview with our sister paper, The Sunday Mail Business, ahead of the International Chrome Development Association (ICDA) conference which was held in Victoria Falls last month, Minister Chitando also noted that with smelting capacity being installed, Zimbabwe could see a much needed decline in chrome concentrate and lumpy export.
“ . . . new capacity being commissioned and planned for commissioning within the year could see a 20 percent increase of ferrochrome production capacity. Some of the producers have plans to install fines agglomeration technology so that they can take advantage of the chromite fines resource which accounts for approximately over 40 percent of the country’s chromite ore resource.
“New technology will also improve smelting efficiencies and thereby improve viability of the industry,” said Minister Chitando.