Chrome Fields expansion shows confidence in Zim, says Mnangagwa

The new aluminothermic plant launched by Zimbabwe’s largest chrome miner African Chrome Fields showed that investors had confidence in the country.

These were the words from President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who attended the launch on Wednesday, and who has launched several investment projects ahead of next Monday’s election.

African Chrome Fields was talking to foreign investors about an equity sale to help fund expansion but would ensure the firm’s two main partners retained control, the majority shareholder said on Wednesday.

The chairperson of Moti Group, which had a majority stake in the mine, told Reuters that during his visit to Europe last week he had “sort of identified two or three people” who could invest in African Chrome Fields.

“We want to bring in new partners, new blood, new capital because there is only so much myself and my partner can do,” said Zunaid Moti, referring to his Zimbabwean partner Kuda Tagwirei.

Moti Group is involved in businesses that include platinum mining, real estate and logistics mainly in South Africa.

Workers in action at the chrome processing plant, 50km outside Kwekwe. Picture: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

It launched an aluminothermic plant outside the town of Kwekwe in central Zimbabwe on Wednesday, to produce up to 12,000 tonnes of low sulphur, high-grade ferrochrome annually without using electricity.

Mnangagwa said the investment showed investor confidence in Zimbabwe after Robert Mugabe was forced to resign last year.

Moti, who did not give a timeline for raising the new funds from the equity sale, said African Chrome Fields was undeterred by a foreign exchange shortage that has put off other investors.

Alongside Zimbabwe, he said the company was looking at investment in cobalt mining in Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Zimbabwe, the miner expects to increase output of chromite concentrates to 780,000 tonnes a year by December, up from 360,000 tonnes.

Moti said the chromite concentrate production would be sold to Glencore until 2030, and would be transported by road to ports in Mozambique for export.

Zimbabwe has the world’s second largest chrome deposits after South Africa. The reserves are concentrated on the mineral-rich Great Dyke belt and are found near the surface. – Reuters

African Chrome Fields expects to increase output of chromite concentrates to 780,000 tonnes a year by December, up from 360,000 tonnes. Picture: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters