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Apple Bridge gets another female boss

By Business Reporter – Thursday 9 January 2020

HARARE (Mining Index) – APPLE Bridge Investment has appointed another female boss Martha Chiwambutsa to stir the chrome entity following the departure of Georgina Mufunda.

In a circular to chrome producers dated 16 December 2019, Masimba Chandavengerwa, a director announced the appointment of Chiwambutsa to the helm of Apple Bridge.

“Please be advised that Mrs Martha Chiwambutsa will be taking over the Apple Bridge Investments Chrome portfolio from Ms Georgina Mufunda with effect from 1 January 2020.”

Small-scale producers export chrome through Apple Bridge, a special purpose vehicle established by Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) to play the role of selling agent.

Chiwambutsa is expected to deal with allegations of corruption levelled against the entity, ensure favourable pricing for chrome miners and implementation of the chrome policy in Zimbabwe.

In 2017, government ordered Apple Bridge to declare its business dealings following allegations of corruption and nepotism raised against it by small scale chrome miners who claimed they are failing to export the commodity alleging Apple Bridge Investment was corruptly facilitating trade for its cronies at the expense of many ordinary chrome miners.

FBC Holdings also revealed it injected a ‘significant’ capital investment into Apple Bridge Investments.

Chrome producers have in the past recommended the adoption of a market-based pricing system which responds to changes in world market prices.

There is no chrome policy in Zimbabwe which targets the growth of chrome producers and processors who beneficiate chrome ore into concentrates or ferrochrome. The chrome producers draft policy also notes great inefficiencies within both the export and domestic chrome ore supply processes.

Chrome is one of Zimbabwe’s main exports after gold, platinum group metals (PGM) and diamonds. Zimbabwe has been earning in excess of US$15 million per year in chrome ore exports.

According to MMCZ, Zimbabwe exported 307,3 metric tonnes (mt) of chrome ore valued at US$41,4 million tonnes in the seven months to July 2019 down from 521mt in the same period in 2018 earning the country US$68,8 million.

Zimbabwe has the second largest high grade chromium ores in the world after South Africa with reserves of approximately 10 billion tonnes. ENDS//

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