- May 15, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
A group of Chrome miners has resolved to form a Chrome miners association as a way of eliminating challenges they face in the chrome business. Unlike gold, the chrome market has few buyers making it susceptible to predatory buyers who purchase chrome at unreasonably low prices and has some miners losing out due. Mining Zimbabwe spoke to the brains behind the association, Mr Shelton Lucas.
Lucas said, ”l am a seasoned miner with a bias towards chrome and coloured quartz EG Amethyst. I got a stereotype ideology of thinking outside the box of my limitations by so doing l created groups to effectively share information on the other opportunities that need to be tapped instead of having these traditional gold rushes’.
Why do you feel a chrome miners association should be formed?
Chrome miners should form an association because the are factors affecting chrome miners that might be needing some reflex actions and tend to delay because of the sequential accessibility to the Paramount decision-makers instead of directly by so doing saving time. For example, chrome is volatile in prices as compared to some other metals it once peaked $250/t in 2016 and now its around $40/t but during the peak, no miner in Zimbabwe had a cut of the cake because of the delays caused by MMCZ through apple bridge and RBZ.
How is the association going to benefit members?
The association is going to benefit members through lobbying to the government for horizontal forward integrations. For example, the government can construct chrome smelters in Guruve, Mashava, Ngezi by so doing miners will be hedged from price volatility, poor road network mileage will be reduced and miners can also be having a solidified approach to syndication in terms of equipment hire and marketing.
The association can be able to negotiate a level playing field with other stakeholders so that we can have a standard price of chrome upper dyke lower dyke and off dyke.
It helps lobby for fair disbursement of funds from buyers to mines that are channelled from MMCZ to miners through Applebridge that it benefits all miners not only those that have connections with the people at Applebridge to avoid the cases that once happened in 2017 where some of the miners who were paid didn’t deliver and some unsuspecting miners consolidated the tonnage that was due to the buyers but were never paid.
The association will also advocate for buyers to open different chrome buying centres near the mines as in the same scenario with what Fidelity does to gold.
The association will also ring-fence the miners from chrome smelting companies that are foreign-owned because they sabotage the miners. Due to them owning the value chain that would not allow symbiosis by so doing the miner loses
How is the executive going to be formed?
The executive is going to be formed through elections from the chrome miners and investors forum. We are a group of 150 miners and we have a Whatsapp group created and administered by myself. It is not a group that was formed with a primary objective of forming an association but it was formed in July 2019 and due to the common challenges we were prompted to start an association with the thumbs up of all the active members numbering up to 150.
We have read and seen association conflicts going to court with some not wanting to step down from their positions will you consider that when forming your association?
This association is not going to be for personal aggrandizement there will not be personal individual benefits but for all miners and they will be a clear constitution to cater for that so the guidelines and principles will be there to avoid such conflicts
Why a new one when there are existing ones like the ZMF for example?
We want a new one which is not under an umbrella group which has a specific mandate not to be represented by some other miners who are mining some other minerals other than chrome in terms of priority representation of specific fields then chrome lags behind.
What are you going to do differently from other associations?
We are going to be different from some of the organisations because we are going to act transparently and we are people-oriented establishment moved by the plight of miners who have been affected or almost neglected by red tape.
A big challenge in the Mining Industry is miners are usually given tributaries and we once ran an article whereby a couple mined chrome on claims given to them by a chrome company only for someone to come claim they are stealing & up to today no one has come to their aid or even responded including Mines Ministry how will you help alleviate that?
The miners that are on tributaries with specific respect to the conflict that was experienced because of the communication breakdown between the allocation of ceded mines by the big companies. For instance, some miners were on tributaries and those mines were ceded to new miners and ownership changed hands without prior notices that the mines are no longer owned by those big companies to the extent that the new owner will come and claim everything and in prospective tributaries. There is a need for the proper paperwork at the lawyers and notifying the ministry also. Alleviation of these disputes can also be done at the association level before it spills in court since both parties will be affiliated and we will find the fairest way of handling disputes.
Chrome pricing is also a challenge in Zimbabwe your comments?
Chrome pricing is a challenge. It is volatile, most miners sell below the MMCZ stipulated prices because they do not get the chances of having the buyers coming directly to them. The smelting companies have their own mines they need miners as auxiliary suppliers, not main suppliers. By so doing miners are arm-twisted since there won’t be any symbiosis. This can be overcome by value addition through smelting.
Word to those who will want to join your organisation and the qualifying criteria?
Those who want to join the organisation should be chrome miners with certificates, chrome mining companies, and those prospective chrome miners.
The members should also know that this is not a money-spinning association its direct mandate is to represent miners for the improvement of the chrome mining industry and the entire mining industry as a whole so don’t join expecting those get rich schemes.
You can get in touch with Lucas on [email protected]