CHINESE investors have completed the first phase in the construction of a US$70 million chrome smelting plant in the Mhandamabwe area of Mashava in Masvingo.
Speaking during a familiarisation tour of the project on Wednesday, the Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Ezra Chadzamira, said the chrome plant was expected to be completed after 18 months, creating employment for 350 people and producing more than 50 000 tonnes of chrome per annum.
“This US$70 million chrome plant has become the biggest investment in the province followed by the Kilimanjaro project and the Chilonga project.
“Construction of the chrome plant is being done by Zimbabwe Zhongxin Smelting Company, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans.”
Minister Chadzamira said the company would also capacitate small scale chrome miners and act as a readily accessible market for their chrome.
“Previously, small scale miners used to travel to Zvishavane and Kwekwe to sell their Chrome but this plant will be their nearest mineral market,” he said.
The new plant was expected to boost both the provincial and national Gross Domestic Product.
Zimbabwe Zhongxin Smelting Company (Pvt) Ltd deputy general manager, Mr Steve Li, assured the province his company would capacitate local small-scale miners.
“We have so far invested US$30 million in our first phase of the construction of the plant.
“The second phase which is the last phase is expected to chew up US$40 million, translating to a cumulative total of US$70 million.
“It is our strongest assurance that we will work hand-in-glove with local small-scale miners and traditional leaders,” said Mr Li.