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Poor chrome prices a threat to Zimbabwe’s small-scale mining

Chrome ore prices are projected to remain depressed in the short-term, posing a threat to Zimbabwe’s vibrant small-scale mining industry, an official has said.

A glut on the international market has resulted in the price of chrome ore plunging from $200 per tonne to around $90 per tonne over the past three months.

Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) deputy manager marketing, Masimba Chandavengerwa said that the price of chrome ore is projected to remain depressed over the next six months.

“The international market is affecting all suppliers of chrome ore mainly because in China there is almost 2 million tonnes of ore reserves and also from South Africa there is cheap low quality material coming from there and until such a time that it has been moved you don’t expect prices to firm up in the short term. But in about five to six months we expect that the market starts stabilizing and the prices will firm in return,” he said.

There are over 2 000 small-scale chrome miners in the country and about 90 percent have contract mining or tributary arrangements with either the Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (ZIMASCO) or Zimbabwe Alloys (ZimAlloys).

Chandavengerwa said there was need to finance local miners to set up smelting facilities.

“When the small-scale miners are failing to sell on the international market, we should have local smelters who can buy that material so that the small-scale miners are not prejudiced. Small-scale miners can’t stockpile for six months, they need the money, they need to be paid on time,” said Chandavengerwa.- The Source

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