In 2003 Zimbabwe produced 725 822 t of chomite in 2003 compared to 749 339 t in 2002. Zimbabwe’s chromite reserves are located within the Great Dyke. Chromite mineralisation is different from that of the chromite deposits in the Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa in that that they are podiform, not stratiform. The chrome ore resource, mostly along the Great Dyke, is categorised as world class, and considerable value adding takes place as ore is processed into Ferro-chrome alloys before export. There is scope to go further in value addition, as all the inputs for stainless steel production are available locally and input costs for fabrication are competitive. Although there is a high demand for raw chrome in international markets, the country has adopted the policy not to export raw chrome exports.
The Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (ZIMASCO) has bought Union Carbide’s chromite interests. Zimbabwe halted exports of chrome ore in a bid to protect the country’s ferrochrome industry from competition. 20 000 tons of chrome ore have been exported since the first approval was given in 1994 for chrome to exported as ore, instead of being shipped out as smelted and refined ferrochrome ingots.
ZIMASCO produces high carbon ferrochrome from mines and smelters in Shurugwi, Mutorashanga and Kwekwe. Zimbabwe Alloys Limited has suspended production at the Great Dyke II Mine and the Inyala underground and open pit mines. In order to preserve the mining infrastructure, limited development will take place at Inyala and in addition, minimal tonnages will be purchased from certain contributors and co-operatives. No retrenchment of permanent employees is anticipated at present. Rumour has it that Anglo American may take a controlling stake in ZIMASCO.
Zimbabwe Mining & Smelting Co. (Pvt) Ltd, African Consolidated Resources Plc
Abascis, Alberta, Anzac, Arcturus, Babs, Beehive, Bindura, Black Dawn, Blanket, Blue Rock, Brompton mine, Bubi, Buchwa, Cam & Motor, Camperdown, Cherole, Connemara, Copper, Cygnet, Dalny Mine