MINES deputy minister Fred Moyo has dismissed speculation that the ban on chrome ore exports had been lifted saying such talk only served to fuel confusion.
Addressing small-scale chrome miners in Zvishavane at the weekend, Moyo maintained the ban still stood because the government wanted mineral value addition to benefit miners and communities in which they operated.
“Don’t be misled by media reports; the ban on chrome ore exports still stands and we have no plans of lifting it anytime soon,” Moyo said.
Moyo said small-scale miners were now recognised under the new Constitution and could engage in the mineral value addition programme.
“The government wants to promote mining so that communities can be transformed through small scale mining, which is why it is being formalised.”
He said Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had secured a $100 million loan from China for mineral value addition to be distributed among base and precious minerals.
“Chinamasa signed an agreement that the money will be paid back by the government in the event that you (small-scale miners) fail to pay back the loan, but we have faith that you can do it,” Moyo said.
Moyo also defended Chinese firms processing chrome ore saying they were paying fair prices to the small-scale mines for the ore.
Moyo told Southern Eye Business that he recently held a meeting with Chinese smelting firms, including Afrochine Smelting, and was satisfied with the $70 per tonne they paid for chrome ore.
He blasted some small scale miners for not being honest when making complaints.
“We want you to tell us the truth when you make your complaints. That way we can properly assist you.”
Small scale chrome miners had complained that they were being duped by Chinese firms that were offering $40 per tonne for chrome ore.
They also complained that some middle men were intercepting their payment and claiming it as processing fees.
The miners claimed these middle men also blocked them from directly communicating with the Chinese demanding that all business be done through them.