Chrome output up in 1st Quarter

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S chrome ore production increased six fold to 139 562,34 tonnes in the first four months of the year compared to 18 701,70 tonnes produced during the same period last year, official figures show.

Figures released by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) also show that during the period under review, chrome concentrates were 121 percent higher at 341 888,48 tonnes against 154 726,19 tonnes produced in the comparable period last year.

In an interview, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) spokesperson, Mr Dosman Mangisi, said the miners’ operations were largely derailed by market forces and the incessant rains the country experienced in the first quarter of 2017.

“Due to demand and supply factors, the chrome price was fluctuating last year and this discouraged miners from exploiting the base metal. Also there was the issue of price protection by MMCZ through Apple Bridge,” he said.

In the first quarter of 2017, the chrome prices plummeted on the international market forcing the local producer price of the base metal to be pegged at $90 a tonne, a rate which saw the miners not being able to break-even.As a result of the saturation that was created by the Chinese market at the ports, chrome ore was largely influenced to go down by 65 percent to $135 a tonne from $390 a tonne as at March 2017.

“This year chrome mining operations were not affected a lot by the heavy rains hence improved production of the mineral,” said Mr Mangisi.In Zimbabwe, chrome mining operations are mainly done by large mining houses such as Zimasco and ZimAlloys as well as the small-scale miners. The chrome miners are the second largest employers in Zimbabwe’s small-scale mining industry after gold. —@okazunga.

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