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Zimbabwe Bans Export of Iron Ore to boost local employment

Zimbabwe bans chrome ore exports. Addressing journalists in Harare during a post-cabinet press briefing, Mutsvangwa also said exports of chrome concentrates will be banned from July next year, as there are now enough smelters in the country to ensure that all exports are of ferrochrome ingots.

Zimbabwe has banned the export of chrome ore with immediate effect, the country’s Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters on Tuesday. She said:

A cumulative 22 smelters are now operating and are shared among nine foreign and local companies. Unless chrome mining capacity is expanded, the smelting operations could soon face the challenge of insufficient feedstock in the form of chrome ore.

In light of the need to safeguard the ferrochrome industry in the above regard, Cabinet approved a total ban on exports of raw chrome ore with immediate effect.

The ban will capacitate current smelters and maximise the value chain to be realised from the country’s abundant resources as spelt out in the National Development Strategy 1. Cabinet approved the total ban of export of chrome concentrates with effect from July 2022.

Mutsvangwa said the one-year transition was designed to give producers of concentrates time to make suitable arrangements to move up the line for more value addition. If the 22 smelters cannot cope with expanding production of chrome, then permission can be given for raw chrome exports, but only for a single consignment at a time. Added Mutsvangwa:

Exports of any consignment of raw chrome will only be allowed provided that all the smelters are not in a position to take up and utilise that particular consignment.

In light of the need to safeguard the needs of the ferochrome industry, Cabinet approved a total ban of exports of raw chrome ore with immediate effect,” Mutsvangwa said.

“The ban will capacitate current smelters and maximise the value chain to be realised from the country’s abundant resources.”

Zimbabwe produced 300,926 tonnes of chrome ore in the first quarter of this year, compared with 353,669 tonnes during the same period of 2020.

Total export earnings from chrome ore and ferrochrome, a key ingredient in the production of steel, was $231.5 million last year, down from $266 million the previous year.

Among the biggest chrome miners and ferrochrome producers in Zimbabwe is China’s Tsingshan Holding Group, which has announced plans to build a carbon steel plant with capacity of 1.2 million tonnes south of the capital Harare.

The project will be operated by Tsingshan’s unit Zhejiang Dinson Holding Co Ltd, which already has ferrochrome smelters in Zimbabwe with annual capacity at 100,000 tonnes.

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