Sinosteel officials visit
Zimasco, now owned by the
Chinese industrial giant
Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVEW.COM — 20 April 2011 – Zimbabwe has banned the export of chrome from today as it looks to build internal refinery capacity, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

Reuters reports that Zimbabwe, along with South Africa, holds about 90% of the world’s chromite reserves and resources, according to the US Geological Survey, and the ban will affect exports to China and South Africa.

There are three large-scale ferrochrome miners in Zimbabwe, including Zimbabwe Alloys and Zimasco, which is owned by China’s Sinosteel. Zimasco recently told state media it planned a US$300 million investment in the second half of 2011 to ramp up output and build a new smelter.

Zimbabwe already has three smelters that have the capacity to handle 1.5Mt of chrome.

In November 2009, the ministry allowed the export of chrome for another 18 months, a period which will expire today.

“We wish to advise all exporters of lumpy chrome that with effect from this date, no more exports shall be entertained”, the ministry said in a notice published in the local newspapers.

Zimbabwe exported 600,000t of chrome in the 18 months from November 2009, mostly to China and South Africa, according to official figures.