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Chrome pricing dilemma, miners propose US$45 per ton

By Business Reporter – Thursday 2 April 2020

HARARE (Mining Index) – DILEMMA in addressing the current chrome price has left government and mining experts undecided over the acceptable price of chrome ore per tonne, leaving small scale chrome miners vulnerable to foreigners buying chrome below economical rate.

While the wrangle to address the situation has dragged on for some time now, small scale chrome miners say they are being ripped off by selling their chrome ore below the global market price.

Chrome miners fear chrome buyers are operating as cartels as their modus operandi is identical while their pricing is almost the same, and often very low.

At present, small scale miners are selling their chrome at an average price of US$12 per tonne, which they describe as a ‘rip-off.’

Norton Miners Association chairman Priviledge Moyo is advocating for a double fold increase of chrome price per tonne to US$45.

“I think the bottom price for our chrome should be US$45 considering that miners have operational costs. US$12 is exploitation price considering that some of these takers are local smelters who also conduct value addition which will make them super rich leaving the miner penniless,”

“The question is, when they process their chrome ore and after export sales, do they revert back to the chrome supplier /miner with a top-up or back-pay or the transaction ends on the first stage. I think a back pay check should be considered and government should look into it, or the miner should be paid a consumerate rate so that there is no second check payment issues,”

“I believe its high time we push MMCZ as the marketing organ of government to come up with a cost build-up of production per given zone, territory or chrome mining community so that our miners are not exploited as they will be negotiating prices within a certain cost of production range,”

“Chrome pricing conflicts are not being resolved because somehow, there is conflict of interest,” said Moyo.

Some chrome tributors at ZIMASCO have called on government to liberalise the chrome sector to enable them to freely access global markets and better prices.

“If MMCZ could liberate the chrome sector to export without them directly involved, other markets could be tapped into,” said Martin Chitowa, a mining contractor at ZIMASCO.

China seems to have taken over Zimbabwe’s chrome sector, with most primary chrome producers being owned by the Chinese – ZIMASCO, Jinan and Afrosheen. Zimbabwe has been exporting most of its chrome to China.

Other mining experts believe the chrome sector should have been left operational in the hands of local companies.

“We should have left the chrome sector occupied by the big local companies to preserve the mineral for future use. Zimbabwe does not have a functional productive economy at the moment and opening raw materials for exports is not advisable because they will go for a song,”

“I recommend a price of US$2 per tonne. Simple reason is to stop the exports of chrome ore. At US$2 everyone in the industry will pack their bags and leave our precious resources,” said Changamire Munashe Zana, a gold miner who is also a social economic and cultural commentator.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) vice president Lindi Mpofu admitted some of the complaints brought to her attention by chrome miners are requesting, among other issues, an address to chrome pricing.

“The figure of US$12 per tonne is what has reached my desk,” she said. ENDS// www.miningindex.co.zw 

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