ZIMASCO shuts down operations


Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (ZIMASCO), the country’s biggest producer of ferrochrome, has shut down operations as a result of excessive electricity bills and the decline in prices on the international market, a local publication revealed.

In an interview with Business Times yesterday, Namatai Mapfumo, the company’s chief operations officer, confirmed the development and said that the company had been forced to take drastic measures due to the decline in global market prices and high electricity bills.

He said ZIMASCO is currently in negotiations with ZESA.

“Current market dynamics, where global ferrochrome markets have taken a downturn, coupled with the recent increased cost of power,  means it makes sense for us to temporarily halt production from our older less efficient furnaces and take the opportunity to carry out essential maintenance on them while negotiations continue towards a more favourable   power tariff,” Mapfumo told Business Times.

He added: “In the meantime we are running our two upgraded furnaces that came online earlier this year, which are more power efficient and environmentally friendly in line with our continued thrust to move towards our ESG goals,” he said.

In addition, Mapfumo said the company will continue with the expansion project of constructing two modern fully closed furnaces.

“Furthermore, and in line with our long term strategy of continued responsible value addition, our expansion project of the construction of two modern fully closed 19.8MVA furnaces remains on course with the first new furnace expected to be completed at the end of next month, while the second furnace should be completed at the end of January 2024,” he said.

According to Mapfumo, the completion of the ongoing power tariff negotiations and the state of the global market will determine when these furnaces are commissioned and turned on.

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“However, given the current power cost, coupled with a depressed global market, the switching on and commissioning of these furnaces is subject to finalisation of the ongoing power tariff negotiations,” he said.

The majority of businesses  across the country have been struggling with the rise in power tariffs because they are unable to continue operating at such exorbitant prices.

Business Times

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