Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
Chrome smelting company Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (Zimasco) has scaled up production in the first half of the year making the company largely in line with its annual target production.
Zimasco is targeting extracting 560 000 tonnes of chrome ore and producing 120 000 tonnes of ferrochrome this years compared to 350 000 tonnes of chrome ore and 100 000 tonnes of ferrochrome produced last year.
In an interview, Zimasco spokesperson Clara Sadomba said the giant chrome smelter’s production capacity was in line with the company’s annual target output for this year.
“The company production of chrome ore and ferrochrome was largely in line with the planned production targets. Zimasco is targeting to produce approximately 120 000mt of ferrochrome in 2018.
Zimasco is targeting to produce approximately 360 000mt of chrome ore for export in 2018 and 220 000mt for its ferrochrome production,” she said.
Ms Sadomba said the company, albeit operating at 80 percent capacity, would this year surpass last year’s ferrochrome output.
“We have five furnaces which have the capacity to produce 180 000mt of ferrochrome per annum. Currently four furnaces are operational meaning we are utilising 80 percent of our capacity.
South African company, Portnex is utilising two of those four furnaces on a leasing arrangement while Zimasco is running the other two furnaces,” she said.
Ms Sadomba said the increase in chrome output could also be attributed to Government’s intervention in increasing rail wagons for exportation of chrome.
“It has been a welcome relief to our logistics problems that wagon supply has continually improved since the beginning of the year. We are generally managing to export our production on time,” she said.
Ms Sadomba said plummeting chrome prices on the global marketing were also slowly and adversely affecting production.
Zimasco, which is emerging from a debt overhang that had buried the group for years and currently under judicial management, has started making efforts towards liquidating debt owed to various creditors while a scheme of arrangement is in the pipeline.
Zimasco, an integrated ferrochrome producer with chromite mining locations in Shurugwi, Guinea Fowl, Lalapanzi, Mutorashanga and tributary operations along the Great Dyke, has been in the doldrums for the past decade bedeviled but is seeing a turn of fortunes. — BH24.