Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (ZIMASCO), the country’s biggest producer of ferrochrome, has temporarily suspended operations as a result of the high cost of electricity and the decline in prices on the international market.
Ferrochrome is an alloy (a metal made by combining two or more metallic elements) known for its high corrosion resistance, hardness, and high melting point commonly used in the production of stainless steel.
ZIMASCO’s chief operations officer, Namatai Mapfumo said, “Current market dynamics, where global ferrochrome markets have taken a downturn, coupled with the recent increased cost of power, means it makes sense for us to temporarily halt production from our older less efficient furnaces and take the opportunity to carry out essential maintenance on them while negotiations continue towards a more favourable power tariff.”
Despite suspending operations, the company will continue with the expansion project of constructing two modern fully closed furnaces.
“Furthermore, and in line with our long-term strategy of continued responsible value addition, our expansion project of the construction of two modern fully closed 19.8MVA furnaces remains on course with the first new furnace expected to be completed at the end of next month, while the second furnace should be completed at the end of January 2024,” said Mapfumo.
However, given the current power cost, coupled with a depressed global market, the switching on and commissioning of these furnaces is subject to the finalisation of the ongoing power tariff negotiations.