Zimbabwe Probably Won’t Consider Lifting Chrome-Ore Export Ban

Zimbabwe probably won’t consider lifting an export ban on chrome so domestic producers are encouraged to process the metal locally, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said.

The southern African nation stopped shipments of chrome in April 2011 to boost domestic processing capacity. In May, Mpofu said the country may consider lifting the restriction.

“I don’t think we will even consider lifting the ban on chrome exports,” he told a mining conference in Harare today. “We can only encourage development of refineries and smelters here. It is not a good strategy to allow raw exports of anything.”

The southern African country, along with South Africa, holds about 90 percent of the world’s chromite reserves and resources, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Zimbabwe has three large-scale ferrochrome miners, including Zimbabwe Alloys and Zimasco, owned by China’s Sinosteel Corp. The country already has three smelters that can process 1.5 million metric tons of chrome annually, according to the Mines Ministry.

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