Zimbabwe: Govt Lifts Chrome Ore Export Ban – by Conrad Mwanawashe (All Africa.com – June 11, 2015)

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Government has lifted the ban on chrome ore exports and scrapped the 20 percent export tax on the mineral in a move expected to improve viability of miners, create thousands of jobs and improve revenue inflows for the fiscus, a Cabinet minister announced.

The Government also raised royalty fees for chrome ore to 5 percent from 2 percent, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said yesterday. The ban on chrome exports was imposed in April 2011 to encourage beneficiation of the mineral.

“The ban on the export of chrome ore negatively affected all small-scale (artisanal) chrome ore producers, who lost their economic ventures and livelihoods,” said Minister Chidhakwa during a Press conference also attended by his Finance and Economic Development counterpart Patrick Chinamasa.

“In addition, the ban on the export of chrome ore did not create opportunities for smelters to invest in new technology for expanded value addition and beneficiation.

“In addition, in order to assist chrome ore producers to operate viably (and) to allow them to create investment capacity in smelting, Government decided to reduce electricity tariffs from eight cents to 6,7 cents per kilowatt hour for chrome ore producers. Zesa shall implement the approved electricity tariff with immediate effect.”

Eight of the 12 companies in chrome ore smelting are expected to resume operations soon as a result of the new measures by Government while more than 2 000 jobs are expected to be created immediately for the mining of chrome ore.

Additional thousands of jobs are expected to be created in the downstream industries which include transport, smelting and beneficiation.

“The optimum production, smelting and export of chrome ore would result in major producers such as Zimasco being able to generate income for expanding their smelting capacity.

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