CHROME MINER :WE ARE BEING DRAGGED INTO ZIM POLITICS | Africa Chrome Fields (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of South African mining company Fanshawe Mining Holdings, which recently came under the spotlight after Government, through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, granted them a duty-free fuel importation certificate, has called on those vilifying it not to drag them into politics.
Speaking after the tour of the company’s processing and washing plants in Chinyika Range on Monday, the Kwekwe-based chrome mining and processing company’s national project liaison director, Mr Ashruf Kaka, said the company was not in the country for politics but to do business.
Mr Kaka’s remarks came in the wake of accusations in the private media and by other politicians of having been illegally granted permission to import fuel duty-free under the guise that they are running a project with national status.
ACF was granted a duty-free fuel importation certificate by the Ministry of Transport, alongside the Dema Emergency Power Project and Kariba South Extension.
The private media has been awash with claims that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa made it possible for Africa Chrome Fields (Pvt) Ltd to invest in a chrome mining and smelting project in Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe constituency.
Addressing parliamentarians, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa and journalists, Mr Kaka said that foreign direct investment should co-exist with Government intervention on the ease of doing business.
“It is important that Government is here today and you (Minister Chinamasa) understand the project and what we are doing. In recent times, the media has not been kind to us drawing us into politics and the political arena. We are not politicians and do want to be in the political arena and be involved in those discussions. What is important to understand is that we are here for the long term. We have resources that can last for 10 years,” he said.
Mr Kaka said Government had given ACF a diesel importation rebate to enable the business to be economic and viable.
“We realised that our new project electric arc furnaces require a lot of electricity and it was going to be more expensive so we opted for diesel. We approached Government and got the rebate,” he said.
Speaking after the tour, Minister Chinamasa said ACF was a strategic institution that will contribute towards economic recovery hence it was granted national project status and was enjoying the benefits thereof.
“I have had many meetings with Mr Zunaid Moti, the owner of ACF, to discuss the genesis of this project since 2014. I have walked with this company from the time where there was nothing until now. When they approached Government, they said they are experts in chrome fines not lamps and in Zimbabwe we do not have the technology to process and smelt chrome fines which constitute 70 percent of the chrome deposits in the country.
“I was impressed with this project because they get us to beneficiate the chrome fines which we have not been exploiting. To that end, I was prepared that Government and the Treasury should come in to support that project. Our support has been in three parts,” he said.
Said Minister Chinamasa: “We granted them a national project status and they deserved to be granted. They have already benefited from being a national project as they set up this plant they import temporary equipment and we have given them a duty-free certificate. Also, the equipment which is coming up as permanent equipment has been exempted from paying duty.
He added Treasury realised that the chrome fines are found in isolated places, far away from the national grid and that they needed power hence they granted them permission to import duty- free diesel.
“This ACF venture was granted national project status and they enjoy those benefits. Kariba South Extension, Hwange 7 and 8, Makomo Resources plant and many others also enjoy this status.
“For that reason I have always indicated that we will give national project status to any infrastructure project taking place in the country. This is because we want to have a firmer foundation for economic recovery and take-off in our country.”