BY BLESSED MHLANGA
AFRICAN Chrome Fields (ACF) executives recently met President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mines minister Winston Chitando to discuss the company’s investments in the country following reports that it was disinvesting from Zimbabwe.
Company spokesperson and project liaison director Ashruf Kaka said ACF was confident that their investment in the country was safe and dismissed reports that they were disinvesting from their $250 million chrome mining and smelting plant in Chenyika near Kwekwe.
“ACF is here to stay in Zimbabwe and any suggestions of disinvestment are clearly untrue. I met President Mnangagwa personally as well as Minister Chitando with the view of giving them the assurance that ACF is here to stay and remains invested in Zimbabwe. We are committed to contributing to the growth of the economy and enriching the people of this country,” Kaka said.
Facing depressed chrome prices on the international market, ACF had, however, scaled down operations to ensure profitability.
“In the recent past, the chrome prices were severely depressed and this, coupled with the current economic conditions in Zimbabwe, placed ACF in an invidious position. Like other mining operators, ACF was required to rationalise their operations and adapt to the trying circumstances,” Kaka said.
“We reduced operations to an extent and continue to attend to the necessary care and maintenance of the remainder of the operating plants so that we can upscale when the economic conditions improve.”
The company is also in talks with the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) over renewal of its export licence, which is key to its continued stay in the country.
Kaka said he was engaging MMCZ, but declined to give more details.
“ACF prefers to deal with issues between parties at the correct forum and through the correct channels, which certainly excludes ventilating disagreements or agreements between the parties in the media,” he said.
MMCZ general manager Tongai Muzenda said work was in progress to clear issues with ACF and discussions were cordial and progressive.
Since opening the mine five years ago, ACF has set up six sites incorporating 15 spiral plants, as well as constructing permanent infrastructure such as roads, dams and boreholes along the Great Dyke.