- Dubious deals: former mines minister Obert Mpofu.
Chrome miners in Zimbabwe are once again singing the blues after exports from the country were suspended by the government, resulting in a thriving black market allegedly run by senior state officials.
Several chrome mines have collapsed after going for more than six months without payment from Apple Bridge Investments, the bankrupt government firm in charge of chrome marketing. Deputy mines minister Fred Moyo said he would visit Nyala Rhonda chrome mines run by women’s co-operatives, which were reported on the brink of closure due to non-payment for chrome stockpiles.
“From the beginning of the year, we haven’t had much export because of the standoff between buyers and sellers,” said Apple Bridge representative Georgina Mfundi.
Mfundi told the recent Minex conference in Zvishavane that disputes arose with foreign chrome buyers after some local chrome miners failed to deliver according to their promises.
“We had a problem with side-marketing. We couldn’t deliver to people who had paid. This is having an effect on the country,” Mfundi said.
Mining industry sources said smuggling of the mineral was rife but the miners were being ripped off by middlemen.
Zimbabwe banned exports of raw chrome in 2009 but reversed the decision five years later after failing to set up smelters to process the mineral.
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