- June 19, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Zimbabwe’s ferrochrome industry is operating at less than 10% capacity with one of the country’s major firms, Zimasco shutting down operations due to the depressed export market induced by the Covid-19 global pandemic.
The pandemic was first detected in China last December and the health crisis has spread across the world threatening national economies.
Speaking to Mining Zimbabwe on condition of anonymity, an official from Zimasco, said the mining concern had ceased operations because of the subdued export market.
“We closed because of the market and as of now, the ferrochrome industry is running at a very low capacity.
“We (Zimasco), are not running but others are running at a very low capacity, less than 10% the whole industry.
“This is because we export everything and the whole globe was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, so the market is weak,” said the official.
Zimasco together with other producers such as ZimAlloys and Afrochine produce ferrochrome that is exported to European and Asian markets where Covid-19 has severely plagued.
Since the outbreak of the disease, the World Health Organisation reports that the pandemic has affected close to 700 million people while claiming about 418 000 lives worldwide.
Asked why Zimasco was not stockpiling chrome during this Covid-19 period, the official said:
“There isn’t much money that is made from chrome and ferrochrome, so we cannot afford to stockpile.
“As a result, we are closed doing nothing regards production and smelting.”
Zimasco stopped smelting operations in March and the ferrochrome producer expects to resume production once the global export market emerges from the COVID-19-induced depression.
“As you know, the market is also driven by the Coronavirus, so it depends on how people get on top of the Coronavirus and the market stabilises, otherwise at the moment the market is very weak,” said the official.
Ferrochrome is also among the minerals that Zimbabwe has pinned hopes on as far as propelling the mining sector to attaining the projected US$12 billion mining economy by 2023.
Under the US$12 billion mining industry road map launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last October, the government envisages that ferrochrome, iron, coal, and diamonds will contribute a congregated US$1 billion.
This article first appeared in the 15 June issue of Mining Newsweek Magazine