THE 35th International Chromium Development Association (ICDA) conference ended on a higher note here yesterday with Government optimistic of better prospects for the sector going forward.
Zimbabwe boasts of 12 percent of the world’s chrome ore deposits being second after South Africa but extraction has not been commensurate with the available resources.
The three-day conference, which was officially opened by President Mnangagwa, was an eye opener for the country as it seeks to entice more investors into the mining sector.
“This is a historic conference and the Zimbabwe chrome mining industry will never be the same again after this. We’re looking at massive growth of up to 960 000 tonnes a year by 2022, which is a huge jump from last year’s figures of about 350 000 tonnes,” he said.
Minister Chitando said the conference, which was attended by more than 250 mining experts and potential investors from across the globe, had put the country’s industry in spotlight.
“Investors are excited,” said the minister who noted that Government will now start working towards growing the sector and has already lined up a mini-conference in September to deliberate on how new smart technology can be harnessed into mining.
Zimasco general manager marketing and administration, Mrs Clara Sadomba who was representing the Chamber of Mines, said the country’s next step should be infrastructure development and capacitation of producers.
“The discourse at the conference was healthy for Zimbabwe’s chrome industry considering that we have the second largest reserves in the world yet production has not been matching.
“It’s good that we are getting appreciation and now there is need for supporting infrastructure, significant exploration, beneficiation, introduction of smart technology, transport networks improvement and alternative cheaper energy sources,” she said.
Zimasco is the country’s major chrome producer alongside Afrochine Smelting with a combined capacity of 80 percent leaving the other 20 percent to small producers.
Earlier, Ms Neusa Monjane Saranga from Port of Maputo told the delegates that plans were underway to expand the chrome terminal at the port in light of expanding chrome industry.