ZIMASCO Halts Chrome Production As COVID-19 Takes Toll

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By Business Reporter

THE impact of COVID-19 has adversely affected ZIMASCO chrome’s production in Kwekwe after its stainless steel making markets Europe and Asian stopped operations.

ZIMASCO is the country’s biggest ferrochrome producer which announced that it had temporarily halted its smelting operations in the face of coronavirus.

In a statement ZIMASCO chief executive, John Musekiwa, said the effects of COVID-19 on its exports market in Europe, Asia and China had made an adverse impact on their local operations.

“Please be advised that ZIMASCO will temporarily halt its smelting operations as a response of the curtailment/stoppages of stainless steel production that has happened in the mainly stainless steel making regions of Europe, Asia and China within the last few months,” he said.

“In efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19, many governments have introduced severe restrictions which means that many stainless steel mills across the world have had to stop or significantly reduce production,” Musekiwa said.

The COVID-19 impact, Musekiwa said had seriously affected major chromite global markets.

“As our ferrochrome is consumed in these global stainless steel mills, orders have been postponed or cancelled in response to these drastic changes implemented across the world,” he said.

The company’s operations would only resume once there was a conducive environment to conduct business.

“ZIMASCO’s closure of its operations is temporary and the operations will restart once marketing conditions are suitable for continued trade,” he said.

ZIMASCO’s Kwekwe smelter has an operational capacity of 180 000 tonnes of ferrochrome per year.

Zimbabwe has 15 ferrochrome operations concentrated mainly in the Midlands province and it holds the world’s second largest known chrome ore deposits after South Africa.