Zimasco to shrink chrome operations
SUBDUED demand for ferrochrome, worsened by the global economic crisis that has hit most developed economies, has forced Zimasco — the Zimbabwean integrated ferrochrome producing division of Sinosteel Corporation — to scale down its chrome mining and smelting operations to 40%.
According to South African ferrochrome producer Merafe Resources, the European benchmark price of the commodity for the fourth quarter of this year has declined by 12% from $2.97/kg in the second quarter.
It said following talks with major European stainless steel producers, that the global price of ferrochrome has been set at $2.42/kg for the period, a decline from $2.75/kg in the third quarter.
Zimasco has cited lower prices and the reduced off-take for most mineral commodities in key consumption markets owing to the economic crisis for its move to scale down operations. It has since stopped buying ore from small-scale miners in the northern parts of the plush Great Dyke mineral belt which cuts across Zimbabwe.
Reports say Sinosteel is negotiating for the Zimbabwean government to waiver the 51% mandatory indigenisation compliance thresholds for the firm as Zimbabwe enjoys cordial relations with China.
The empowerment policy seeks to transfer majority shareholding stakes to black citizens.