Courtney Matende, Midlands Reporter
GWERU-based Chinese chrome smelter, Jinan Corporation, targets to increase its annual export earnings to US$100 million and creating additional jobs through construction of four more furnaces at its Almid plant.
The company operates five furnaces and will be commissioning a sixth low carbon unit before end of this year.
Jinan Corporation is one of the top foreign currency earners in Zimbabwe, grossing at least US$25 million from ferrochrome exports.
Speaking during a media tour of the plant on Friday, Almid deputy general manager, Mr Zhou Zhengqiao, said funding for the four furnaces was already available through a grant from the Chinese government.
“We were granted funding by the Chinese government to establish 10 furnaces and right now we have five furnaces online and we expect to commission the sixth furnace by the end of this year,” he said.
“After this we can generate US$100 million per annum and create 1 500 direct jobs. Our strength is that we have years of experience, sufficient funding, efficient technology and 10 000 hectares of chrome claims.”
Jinan Corporation has a joint venture with Zimbabwe Alloys where it processes ferrochrome slags sourced from the now defunct giant ferrochrome exporter.
“We have a joint venture with ZimAlloys where we use modern technology to process four million tonnes of slag, which accumulated there in the past 14 to 16 years. We have achieved what others could not do in the past decades,” said Mr Zhou.
“We generate US$25m per annum and most of the processed slag we use it as construction material.”
He also said the company was constructing three chrome ore plants, with two of the plants set to be commissioned soon while work on the third plant was underway.
Mr Zhou added that the company was planning to construct a machinery manufacturing plant on site to produce spare parts.
“We want to do our own machine manufacturing where we are going to produce 70 percent of spare parts on our own. Currently we are importing most of the spare parts from China, which costs us a lot and uses foreign currency. To save forex, we need to manufacture our own spare parts,” he said.
Jinan Corporation exports low and high carbon ferrochrome to South Africa, South America, Europe and Asia. The company, which was established in Zimbabwe in 2008, is a subsidiary of Sichuan Yiming Investment Corporation of China.