Zimbabwe-based chrome producer African Chrome Fields (ACF) launched a new aluminothermic plant last month, thereby assisting in the creation of new jobs and enhancing production capacity, enabling the company to produce 300 t of ferrochrome a month before ramping up to 600 t at full production.
ACF, Zimbabwe’s biggest chrome miner, noted that the state-of-the-art aluminothermic plant should increase the company’s range of products through the addition of ultralow-carbon high-grade ferrochrome and boost employment across its operations.
The technologically advanced plant’s processes create by-products that have economic value, and will create a secondary income stream for the company.Job Creation
Last month’s launch assisted in the creation of 50 new jobs, bringing the total number of employees at ACF to over 1 250, which, apart from increasing employment in the region, has positive implications for socioeconomic development.
ACF’s new plant will increase the economic value of the high-grade chromite ore by removing large quantities of gangue minerals, resulting in the production of a higher-grade ferrochrome with minimum impurities.
One of the more important reasons for the beneficiation of chromite by way of the aluminothermic plant is the lack of electricity at ACF’s remote site. The process used by the plant requires no electricity and affords ACF the opportunity to increase the economic value of its mined ore while also complying with government’s Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socioeconomic Transformation beneficiation programme.
At the time, ACF national projects liaison officer Ashruf Kaka commented: “The aluminothermic beneficiation plant is a very exciting step for both our flagship operation and the development of Zimbabwe’s ferrochrome industry.”
He noted that Zimbabwe currently hosted about 12% of the world’s chrome reserves and that mining and beneficiating these reserves would assist the country in fulfilling its true potential as a major global player in the production and beneficiation of a vital stainless-steel material.