GOVERNMENT has set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to assist small scale chrome miners export the mineral.
The Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets (C&M) has established that the SPV, called Apple Bridge Investments, will consolidate small scale chrome miners’ production for which it will pay before exporting the raw chrome.
The development was confirmed by Mines and Mining Development deputy minister, Fred Moyo, in an interview with C&M last week.
“Yes, it’s correct, we formed a special purpose vehicle called Apple Bridge Investment to assist the small scale miners in the ferrochrome industry,” said Moyo.
“Small scale miners have been finding it difficult to export the commodity because most of them could not produce the required tonnage. So we wanted someone to consolidate their efforts and pay them before the product is exported.”
Moyo said Apple Bridge would purchase chrome ore at competitive prices.
He said government was putting in place a formula to pay producers a certain percentage of the agreed price.
It is understood the chrome producers had a stoke pile of 100 000 tonnes ready for shipment.
“It has been difficult because all commodity prices have been going down.
“But now we are working at a formula . . . we are going to pay a certain percentage of the agreed price then confirm the final price after we sell the product,” he said.
In 2011, government banned the export of raw chrome to encourage the local beneficiation of chrome ore into ferrochrome before exporting.
But last year, it lifted the export ban.
Chrome is an important resource used in industrial processes such as electroplating to give metals properties such as abrasion and wear resistance and corrosion protection.
Zimbabwe has about one billion tonnes of chrome ore deposits, making it the world’s second largest chrome ore reservoir after South Africa.
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