BY BLESSED MHLANGA
AFRICAN Chrome Fields (ACF) executives meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa and mines minister Winston Chitando last week as government ramps up its $12 billion mining investment portfolio.
Company, spokesperson and project liaison director, Ashruf Kaka after the meeting said ACF was confident that their investment in the country was safe and dismissed reports that they were disinvesting from their Zimbabwe $250 million chrome mining and smelting plant in Chenyika, Kwekwe despite the harsh economic environment.
“ACF is here to stay in Zimbabwe and any suggestions of disinvestment are clearly untrue. I met with His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa personally as well as Minister Winston 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 scaled down operations to ensure profitability.
“In the recent past, the chrome price was 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 rationalize their operations and adapt to the trying circumstances. “We reduced operations to an extent and continue to attend to the necessary care and maintenance of the remainder of the operating plants such that we can upscale when the economic conditions improve,” stated Kaka.
The company is also in talks with the Mineral Marketing Cooperation of Zimbabwe over renewal of its export licence which is key to its continued stay in the country.
Kaka said he is engaged with the MMCZ and would not want to discuss the issues in the press.
“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 invested in the establishment of six sites incorporating the 15 spiral plants, together with supporting permanent infrastructure, including roads, dams and boreholes – all spanning over approximately 34km along the Great Dyke.