Wagon shortage hampers chrome exports

Source: Wagon shortage hampers chrome exports | The Financial Gazette January 25, 2018

Chrome exports to drive mineral earnings

Chrome exports are expected to drive mineral earnings

THE Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (Zimasco) is failing to export optimum volumes of carbon ferrochrome through Mozambique due to a shortage of rail wagons from the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), an official has said.

The company last year entered into an agreement with the national rail company, under which the NRZ guaranteed that it would transport the chrome producer’s export product.
The NRZ has, since November last year, transported about 60 000 tonnes through Mozambique, Zimasco marketing and administration manager, Clara Sadomba, said.
The tonnage represents half of what it could have exported.

Sadomba said the carbon ferrochrome smelter is currently being limited to exporting 30 000 tonnes of the commodity per month when it could easily be exporting 60 000 tonnes.
“If we are able to have enough wagons we will move 60 000 tonnes per month, but we have been averaging 30 000 tonnes per month since November when our agreement with NRZ came into force. The agreement will last until the end of the year and we hope to renew it,” she said.

“Through this strategic agreement we are hoping to ensure that the volumes that we want to move actually move which we believe will also be beneficial to NRZ,” she added.
NRZ general manager Lewis Mukwada said the deal with Zimasco was critical to the turnaround of the national rail carrier’s fortunes.

“Midlands is where some of our key customers are. (You can) talk of Sable Chemicals, Ziscosteel (if it comes back on line), ZimAlloys and Zimasco. Export of chrome ore and ferrochrome for us is important business. In fact, when Zimasco resumed the export of chrome and ferrochrome there was an immediate noticeable change in the fortunes of the NRZ and we continue to work closely with them,” he said.
Zimasco is set to come out of judicial management after almost two years under Grant Thornton International.

Zimasco creditors agreed on a “scheme of arrangement” last month after the giant ferrochrome producer made a turnover of more than $158 million in 16 months.
Zimasco posted a profit of more than $45 million over a period of 16 months.
The ferrochrome giant has contributed more than $103 million of the country’s total chrome profits.