WINDHOEK, Namibia Ruukki
Group says prevailing market conditions have forced it to put
plans to develop its Waylox chrome deposits in Zimbabwe on
The project encompasses two
chrome claimsTrixie and Prince of Walesalong
Zimbabwes Great Dyke, a 330-mile-long mineral strike with
substantial chrome and platinum deposits.
"We have plans to develop the
claims into a mine. The timing of our decision is entirely
market dependent, and given current market conditions we will
obviously wait a bit," Alistair Ruiters, executive chairman of
Ruukki South Africa, told AMM sister publication
An improvement in market
conditions would justify investment in transforming the two
high-grade chrome concessions into commercial production,
Ruiters said. "We are hopeful that market conditions will
improve (to) where the selling price of chrome would allow us
to justify our investment."
Moves to recruit local staff and
set up administration structures, which were already underway,
have been put on hold, Ruiters said.
He did not disclose whether the
company had any plans to eventually invest in chrome smelting
facilities at the Zimbabwean project. Exports of chrome ore are
banned under Zimbabwean law and, coupled with limited chrome
smelting capacity, most chrome producers in Zimbabwe have
either scaled back mining operations or shut down
"It is the companys policy
to beneficiate as much of the product locally (as possible), so
when we eventually decide on these matters this policy will be
our primary consideration," Ruiters said.
He said Ruukki has submitted
proposals for meeting Zimbabwes indigent law, which
requires at least 51 percent local ownership.
As market conditions improve,
Ruukki also will seek to increase its presence along the Great
Dyke by conducting further exploration, the company said.
"We believe that Zimbabwe offers
significant potential, given the high-grade ore present in the
Great Dyke area. For that reason, it is always an option that
Ruukki will (undertake) further exploration," Ruiters
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin.