Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Midlands Correspondent
GWERU-BASED chrome smelting company, Zimbabwe Alloys has ceded 60 percent of its chrome mining claims to Government in compliance with the directive from Mines and Mining Development Minister Cde Walter Chidhakwa compelling the ferrochrome producer to surrender some of its claims to enable wider inclusion of locals in the sector.
ZimAlloys judicial manager Mr Reggie Saruchera told Sunday News Business that the ferrochrome producer has now fully complied with the Government directive and had ceded 60 percent of its claims to the ministry.
“We have ceded 60 percent of our mining claims to Government as advised. I do not have the actual figure in terms of the number of claims but we have ceded the claims to Government,” said Mr Saruchera.
ZimAlloys has a total of 39 175 hectares.
The company together with Zimasco jointly controlled about 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s chrome ore claims, mostly found along the Great Dyke.
Zimasco has also already ceded part of its claims to the Government.
The Government has since 2015, pressed the two firms to release some ground but ZimAlloys has been reluctant to comply with the directive.
In May last year, the Mines Ministry wrote to ZimAlloys, giving the company up to mid-year to hand over half of its claims.
“Please be advised that the Government, through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, reiterates its position that it will be acquiring 50 percent of all mining claims held by ZimAlloys in line with Government policy to increase the number of players in the chrome mining industry,” reads part of the letter, signed by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga.
“Despite repeated efforts to have a common understanding, you have remained evasive with regards to this matter. Therefore, we will be giving you to the 7th of June 2016 to present the claims . . . or risk the claims being acquired at our discretion and without notice.”
Mr Saruchera said there were five potential investors that were interested in ZimAlloys, adding that the management was conducting due diligence.
“There are about five companies that are interested in ZimAlloys. As we speak we are conducting due diligence,” he said.
ZimAlloys was an Anglo American subsidiary, before a consortium of local businessmen including banker Mr Farai Rwodzi and Savanna Tobacco founder Adam Molai purchased the ferrochrome producer in 2006.
The firm was placed under judicial management in 2013 as weak commodity prices and lack of capital affected its business’ viability.