There is a chance that the unfair exploitation of small scale miners by chrome buyers will come to an end after government announced recently that all chrome trade will be done and coordinated through the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).
During a recent policy dialogue organized by EnviroPress with support from Southern Africa Trust in Chirumhanzu, it was established that Chinese companies were coming to buy chrome ore from small scale miners at a measly US$15 per tonne.
The actual market value of chrome ore per tonne ranges around US$120.
While announcing the policy change, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the shift would help communities benefit from their resources while also aiding the attainment of a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023.
“The public is advised that cabinet agreed to a policy change whereby all chrome ores will be traded through the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).
“The MMCZ, through a Chrome Ores Coordination Committee, will set quarterly prices of chrome ore which miners and trades will trade at. The committee will comprise representatives of smelters and Chrome Small Scale Miners Association,” said Mutsvangwa.
The Chinese companies enjoyed monopoly in buying chrome ore from small scale miners and pegged exploitative prices prompting the government to act.
Areas around Lalapanzi have recorded a proliferation of chrome mining activities as a source of livelihoods.
Chirumhanzu, which falls under the Midlands province, has its economy anchored in mining as agriculture does not fare well due to climate change and poor soils.
An official with the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF), Wellington Takavarasha, said the change in policy is a start in ensuring that small scale miners get real value for their sweat.
“What has been happening in the chrome sector was pure exploitation of small scale miners. The policy change will enable a pricing model that is commensurate with the economic fundamentals.
“Now that MMCZ will be coordinating the price through a set committee, people digging up the ores will that to be treated fairly and the communities will benefit,” said Takavarasha.
This project was made possible through a partnership with the Southern Africa Trust. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent that of the Trust or its associates. www.southernafricatrust.org