May 24, 2021

Afrochine’s Operation An Opportunity For Zimbabwe

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Sihle Mkondo

Afrochine Smelting, a subsidiary of Tsingshan Holdings Group, the world’s largest nickel and steel producer, has been given exclusive rights to establish an integrated chrome mining and processing operation in Chivhu.

The company is already heavily involved in ferrochrome production following its construction of furnaces in 2020 with plans to construct additional ones this May.

The integrated chrome mining operation which is expected to turnover US$1.5 billion will comprise a carbon steel plant, an iron ore mine and processing plant, as well as a ferrochrome production plant with an annual production capacity of 500 000 tonnes.

Afrochine’s operation is ideally located close to Mvuma where Tsingshan is processing steel which requires 11% chrome, coal and fluorite from the flux, plus smaller quantities of other metals like nickel and vanadium. A ground breaking ceremony for the carbon steel plant and an iron ore mine will be held in July at Manhize, Mvuma.

Work on the multi million dollar steel and ferrochrome operation which is expected to be three times larger than Zimasco, Zimbabwe’s biggest chrome processor, is due to start next month.

According to Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando, Government has involved all its relevant departments to ensure a flawless decision making process for timeous delivery of the project.

The coming on board of Tsingshan Holdings Group with its steel mill is set to eventually produce two million tonnes of assorted steel and stainless steel a year, most of which will be exported into the region.

South Africa has implemented export tax on ores, creating an opportunity for Zimbabwe to fill in the gap as it is one of five countries that form 30% of global chromite supply. The other countries are Kazhakstan, India, Turkey and Finland.

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