Zimbabwe’s African Chrome Fields eyes equity sale to fund expansion

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

KWEKWE, Zimbabwe, July 25 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s largest chrome miner African Chrome Fields (ACF) is talking to foreign investors about an equity sale to help fund expansion but will ensure the firm’s two main partners retain control, the majority shareholder said on Wednesday.

The chairman of Moti Group, which has a majority stake in ACF, told Reuters that during his visit to Europe last week he had “sort of identified two or three people” who could invest” in ACF.

“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.

ACF 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.

The event was attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has launched several investment projects ahead of next Monday’s election. He said ACF’s 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 ACF was undeterred by a foreign exchange shortage that has put off other investors.

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

In Zimbabwe, ACF 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 (LON:GLEN) 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.