by Grace Chekai
A Gweru-based Chinese owned ferrochrome company, Jinan is now fully operational after downsizing operations in March due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Harare Post has learnt.
A contact within the company said, “It is pleasing to note that the Gweru-based Chinese ferrochrome company, Jinan is now operating on full capacity following its downsizing in the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March 2020.
“The company`s three furnaces are now running at 70 percent capacity utilization. These furnaces have a combined installed capacity of 1 500 metric tonnes per month.”
The contact revealed that the Chinese company had also hired 300 more employees making the company`s total employment level to 750.
The contact revealed that the March COVID-19 closure coincided with the subdued ferrochrome price range of between US$0.65 and US$0.69 per ounce. He, however indicated that the ferrochrome price was beginning to rise again.
“Jinan Company now has six ferrochrome claims of which most of them are in Shurugwi and along the Gweru-Zvishavane highway. The company is also one of the beneficiaries of claim session from ZIMASCO and ZimAlloys,” said the contact.
He further said that the company was looking forward to increased production in the near future.
The projected increased production will be based on the firming of metal prices on the global market, improved electricity supply following ZESA`s agreement and Government directives for all smelting companies to pay in US dollar and improved stability and confidence in the current macro-economic operating environment brought by the foreign exchange auction system.
Economic analysts have commended Jinan for heeding the calls by Government on mineral beneficiation and value addition through continued investments in ferrochrome smelting plants.
The analysts observed that if all the mining companies adopted value addition of the minerals, Government would register increased revenue. They suggested that Government must consider an export levy for all exports of raw materials, so as to encourage the mining companies to adopt value addition.