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Zim bans raw chrome export, to establish gold centres – Cabinet briefing

Zim bans raw chrome export, to establish gold centres – Cabinet briefing

Monica Mutsvangwa

Twenty-sixth post-cabinet press briefing 3rd August 2021

Cabinet received and noted with satisfaction an update on some of the mining initiatives which will help the nation to achieve a US$12 Billion mining industry by 2023, which was presented by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Honourable W. Chitando.

The nation is informed that Zimbabwe is endowed with the world’s second-biggest resources of chrome ore which is required for metallurgical processes such as steel manufacturing. A cumulative twenty-two 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 maximize the value chain to be realized 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.  This gives producers of chrome concentrates a year within which to make suitable arrangements for the value addition of the concentrates, the investment of which is low capital cost and relatively easy.  Accordingly, 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 utilize that particular consignment.

The second initiative being targeted in the achievement of a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023 involves the establishment of gold centres. Gold centres are expected to provide basic equipment such as compressors and jackhammers as well as working capital to facilitate optimal production by small-scale miners who supply gold ore. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe shall maintain a presence, directly or through approved buying agencies, at all Gold centres so as to buy all the gold produced. The Gold Centres will also provide technical services to miners who supply the ore.

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Cabinet approved proposals for the establishment of over twenty Gold Centres by mid-2022. Accordingly, memoranda of understanding will be signed with four investors who have been identified for the purpose of setting up the Gold Centres. The investors will own 100 per cent equity in the Centres, while those who operate joint ventures with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development will fully fund the operations of the Centres in return for a 90 per cent equity stake. Cabinet, therefore, approved that the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development signs memoranda of understanding with investors intending to locate, establish, fund and run gold centres already provided for in the Mines and Minerals Act. Some of the Gold Centres are expected to be established in Makaha, Odzi, Mount Darwin, Shamva, Mazowe and Silobela.

Finally,  in the diamonds sub-sector Cabinet noted the need to facilitate a new investor, Ashelroi Trading and Services, to participate in the diamond auction system as already stipulated in the diamond value addition chain in the National Development Strategy 1. The new investor will construct an advanced diamond cutting and polishing plant in Zimbabwe and promote skills and technology transfer on cutting and polishing.

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