Home » Industry » President Gets Feel of New Chrome Tech

AFRICA Chrome Fields, a subsidiary of Fanshawe Mining Holdings, last Friday demonstrated to President Mugabe the $200 million chrome smelting technology – the exothermic (alluninathemic) processing – that reduces time taken to refine chrome from the traditional six hours to less than one minute.

Exothermic is a unique and new technology of smelting chrome concentrate into ultra-low carbon ferro-chrome in less than 60 seconds without electricity.

The demonstration was done at AFC mine in Chinyika Range in Ward 2 Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency, where the firm is going to set up a chrome mine and a smelting plant.

President Mugabe said the technology was exclusive to Zimbabwe and was the fastest chrome processing in the world.

“When we first heard about this new technology by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, I thought maybe he just wanted me to come over to his former constituency. Today I have witnessed for myself this sophisticated technology that can smelt chrome in less than two minutes.

“I am also informed that it is the first of its kind.

“This technology is in this country alone and other countries will learn it from us,” he said.

President Mugabe said there was need for Zimbabwe to properly use its mineral resources to ensure that the people benefit.

“We are told that the company will require 11 months to fully establish and start operating full throttle,” he said.

Fanshawe director Mr Zunaid Moti, who also designed the new technology, said his company had injected $200 million into the project.

“Normally, the chrome smelting process takes about six hours. Our technology requires only a minute to produce ultra-low carbon ferrochrome. Even the European countries that use aanced technology require about six hours to get this final product,” he said.

In a separate interview, ACF chief operations officer Mr Fred van Rensburg said the company had 147 blocks of chrome claims, which would feed into the plant, which used a new technology that did not require electricity.

Mr van Rensburg said the new technology would smelt chrome concentrate to produce ultra-low carbon ferrochrome in 45 seconds and had the capacity to produce 10 000 tonnes of ultra-low carbon ferro-chrome a month.

“We are setting up four chrome washing plants at the site that would convert chrome ore into chrome concentrate that would then be smelted into ultra-low carbon ferrochrome,” he said.

Mr van Rensburg said the company was still to start mining and would start constructing the smelting plant in two months’ time after finishing the paperwork required for the whole project to kick off.

“At the moment we are just converting chrome ore into chrome concentrate storing it for smelting once we finish constructing the smelting plant.

“We are not mining for now but we hope to start mining soon. We have chrome ore, which was left by the company, which was operating here before so we are setting up washing plants so that we prepare the concentrate for smelting,” he said.

Mr van Rensburg said the chrome smelting plant would have four blast furnaces. He said the company would employ about 600 people once it starts operating full throttle.

Source : The Herald