FINANCIAL services concern, FBC Holdings revealed that the banking institution made major investments in chrome ore as it seeks to capacitate small scale chrome miners.
The bank injected significant capital inflows into Apple Bridge Investments, a special purpose vehicle founded with the objective of buying and facilitating chrome ore exports.
Presenting half year results for in Harare recently, FBC Holdings Limited Group Chief Executive Mr John Mushayavanhu opened up about the banks investments in mining.
Although he could not be drawn to reveal the exact figure invested into Apple Bridge, he only gave an indication saying the bank ‘invested a significant amount of money in Apple Bridge Investments.’
Mr Mushayavanhu noted that the need to invest into mining as a way to render technical research extension services, capacitating small scale chrome miners with equipment and storage facilities on an aggregate basis for better chrome grade.
‘The establishment of Apple Bridge has made great impact for small scale miners. To further develop the sector, we have provided a market to small scale miners,’ said Mushayavanhu.
Small scale chrome miners account for a larger part of Zimbabwe’s ferrochrome producers.
Mr Mushayavanhu noted with concern that as at June 2018, ‘exports were almost double the imports,’ posing a serious challenge to the Zimbabwean economy.
Over the years, the Asian market has been a major trading partner in in chrome, taking over 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s chrome.
In June 2017, Zimbabwe exported 232,367.89 metric tonnes of chrome ore valued at $41.781 million.
Cheaper strip mining operations, also known as open cast mining, limits quantity and quality of the chrome. Zimbabwe thus needs to invest in mining equipment for underground chromium operations for better grade and output.
Mined along the great dyke of Zimbabwe, fertile chrome areas include Mberengwa, Guruve, Makonde, Gweru, Kwekwe, Shurungwi, Chegutu, Kadoma, Gwanda, Insiza, Masvingo and Chirumanzu.
According to the ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Zimbabwe has the 2nd largest high grade chromium ores in the world after South Africa with reserves of approximately 10 billion tonnes.
Zimbabwean chrome prices vary between $40 to $80 per tonne. ENDS//