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    Sunday, 24 September 2017

    Moyo to intervene in Zvishavane chrome claims disputes

    Apple Bridge ordered to buy all chrome from small-scale producers


    ZVISHAVANE – The Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Fred Moyo has said that he would soon be dispatching a team to Mapanzure area of Zvishavane to look into reports of large companies that are allegedly dispossessing small scale miners of their chrome mineral claims.
    The miners claimed that they are being forced out of the claims by companies claiming ownership of the said claims.
    Villagers from Zvishavane District were given mining claims by Government through an empowerment programme early this year that is aimed at poverty reduction and some 2000 miners benefitted.
    Ward 3 Councillor Martin Mapfumo told The Mirror that some unscrupulous companies are evicting small scale miners from the claims and in some instances the miners were also fighting amongst themselves.
    "It is our plea to Government to address the situation and resolve the disputes because in some areas other miners have resorted to violence," he said.
    There has been jostling for chrome claims in the Midlands province following the ceding of large tracts of Chrome rich land to Government by Zimasco and Zimalloys.
    Moyo said he received a report on the matter and was going to send a task force to the area soon. He said there was need to create sanity and protect small scale miners. He said the small scale miners were making significant contributions to the mining industry compared to large corporates.
    "The ministry will task officials to investigate and solve the dispute if there is any," he said.
    There have also been complaints that small scale miners are being fleeced by private players who buy their chrome at low prices. On the issue of low prices, Moyo said a company called Apple Bridge Investment was put in place to ensure that it buys chrome from the miners and give them the correct price.
    He called on the miners to report any situation that is contrary.
    The Confederation of Chrome Miners Association (CCMA) alleged that buyers were purchasing chrome at as low as $8 per tonne which is far below the market price of over $60 per tonne. The Association accused Apple Bridge of only buying from miners with large quantities.
    "Apple Bridge is saying that it is paying $60 per tonne. Miners should raise concerns with us if there are any issues. The idea of creating Apple Bridge was to mop up all (delivered) tonnage. So I am instructing them, they must buy all the chrome," said Moyo.
    CCMA secretary general Antony Msipa said chrome miners are being exploited by private smelters.
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