Dawn of a new chrome mining era
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday launched one of the country’s most advanced technological chrome processing plants as the new administration continues to launch multi-million dollar projects to give a new impetus to the economy. The President switched on the Aluminothermic Plant, owned by African Chrome Fields (ACF) in Chinyika, Kwekwe, marking the dawn of a new era in chrome mining in Zimbabwe. ACF is in a partnership with Sakunda Holdings. The Aluminothermic Plant will see ACF processing about 300 tonnes of ultra low carbon high grade ferrochrome per month, with production set to reach 600 tonnes monthly at its peak. Addressing guests at the commissioning of the plant, President Mnangagwa said the project was part of other mining investments countrywide that bear testimony to the Governments drive to get maximum benefits from national resources. The President said his administration would promote openness and transparency in the mining sector. “The ongoing initiatives (mining projects) are a reflection of the nature of my administration and our determination to ensure openness and transparency in the exploitation and allocation of national resources,” said President Mnangagwa. “To this end, we will not shy away from doing what is good for the benefit of our people throughout the county, always mindful, of national interests. “The mining sector continues to play a pivotal role in the economic developmental trajectory of our nation. Our country is endowed with vast minerals available for exploration, exploitation, value addition and beneficiation.” According to ACF, the new plant will increase the economic value of high grade chromite ore by removing large quantities of gangue minerals. This will result in the production of a higher grade ferrochrome with minimum impurities. The new ferrochrome process does not use electricity. ACF chief technical officer, Mr John Drummond, said: “The Aluminothermic process is not only more efficient, but cleaner as well when compared to more conventional methods. “The specific recipe and know-how of the Aluminothermic Plant for this manner of beneficiation is unique to ACF. The main ingredient being the high grade ferrochrome that ACF mines alluvially.” Zimbabwe currently sits on over 12 percent of global chrome reserves. ACF is one of the biggest firms mining the mineral. ACF falls under the multi-billion Moti Group and currently employs over 1 200 people, 97 percent of them locals. The new dispensation is pushing for beneficiation of the country’s minerals to increase foreign currency earnings.