Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Chrome mining company, Zimasco and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) have entered into a partnership that has seen the former hiring two locomotives from South Africa to augment the parastatal’s capacity to move chrome ore from the miners’ operations in Mutorashanga.
The locomotives were hired from Sheltan Traxtion.
Zimasco and NRZ entered into the deal early this year after realising that the rail operator was having challenges transporting its ore destined for the export market.
The locomotives were handed over to NRZ board chairman Advocate Martin Dinha by Zimasco chief executive officer, Mr John Musekiwa at Kildonan Siding in Mutorashanga.
Mr Musekiwa said the consummation of the deal was indicative of the good working relations they had with the NRZ.
“We are aware that there is still significant recapitalisation required for NRZ to perform optimally for us and other customers in the country.
“However, it is our hope that this arrangement that we have managed to put in place will provide important support to the railway operators so that they are better able to provide us with logistics that we require for the export of our high grade chromite concentrates to earn the much needed foreign currency,” Musekiwa said.
This year, Zimasco has exported 160 000 tonnes of ore from Kildonan and is targeting to sell 300 000 tonnes by the end of the year.
NRZ is currently moving 45 percent of Zimasco’s exports owing to the shortage of locomotives.
Adv Dinha said the partnership they had entered with Zimasco was an example of other agreements they are pursuing especially with mining houses.
“Recently the Minister of Mines Winston Chitando, Minister of Finance Professor Mthuli Ncube and our own Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Joel Biggie Matiza challenged us to come up with smart partnerships with our mining industry.
“So our in move to recapitalise the sleeping NRZ we are no longer looking for money to come from elsewhere but we are looking at resuscitating the sleeping giant through our support to the mining sector,” Advocate Dinha said.
He said the company would also look at pricing models to ensure that they remained competitive and be cheaper to road transport.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also affected the NRZ capacity to procure spares mainly from the USA due to shipping challenges.