The Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (Zimasco) is set to start operating on full throttle by August after the company leased three of its furnaces to South African Investor Portnex as it completes refurbishment of its two furnaces.
Zimasco has leased its furnaces in the West Plant to Portnex which has since commissioned two furnaces while the other will be opened in August.
The Kwekwe-based ferrochrome smelting company has five operational furnaces and one which developed a technical fault and each has the capacity to produce 200 tonnes of ferrochrome a day.
In an interview on the sidelines of the site tour by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimasco chief executive, Mr John Musekiwa said they would also commission the last two furnaces.
Mr Musekiwa said the company was set to benefit from the lines of credit opened by Government to commission two furnaces before resuming operations next month.
Mr Musekiwa said the company will re-engage its workers who had gone on unpaid leave when the company suspended operations.
“We had closed in December due to (plummeting ferrochrome) prices.
“We have been working hard to lower our cost of production so that we can come back and start operating.
“I am glad to announce that we have got a bankable five year business plan which is being reviewed by two sister companies in Hong Kong and Zimbabwe. We will be running our five furnaces by the end of the year.
We have also leased out our West plant which has three furnaces to a South African company Portnex,” he said.
Mr Musekiwa said the company would produce 180 000 tonnes of ferrochrome annually once the five furnaces start running.
He said the company had surrendered 22 000 hectares of land to Government which had over 800 chrome claims that would be forfeited to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development before redistribution.
“We have ceded 22 000 hectares of land to Government which has about 800 claims,”he said.
Zimasco and ZimAlloys had enjoyed the monopoly of the chrome mining sector and owned over 90 percent of the mining claims, a situation that has raised concerns by small players. herald