Base Metals

Product Description And Uses

Nickel is a generally abundant natural element. Pure nickel is a hard, silvery-white metal. Nickel can be combined with other metals, such as iron, copper, chromium, and zinc, to form alloys. These alloys are used to make coins, jewellery, and items such as valves and heat exchangers. Most nickel is used to make stainless steel. Nickel can combine with other elements such as chlorine, sulphur, and oxygen to form nickel compounds. Many nickel compounds dissolve fairly easy in water and have a green colour. Nickel compounds are used for nickel-plating, to colour ceramics, to make some batteries, and as substances known as catalysts that increase the rate of chemical reactions. Nickel is found in all soil and is emitted from volcanoes. Nickel is also found in meteorites and on the ocean floor. Nickel and its compounds have no characteristic odour or taste.


Nickel by-products refer to mainly copper and cobalt that are found and processed simultaneously with the nickel and are of commercial value. The by-products can also refer to minute/ trace elements such as gold, platinum, rhodium & ruthenium (PGMs)

Product Mine Location

Nickel is currently being produced commercially form two mines namely: Shangani & Trojan and is solely processed at Bindura where Trojan mine is located. The Bindura Smelting and Refinery is situated less than 8km to the South of Bindura town centre.

Mine Location: Beitbridge

Product Description

Ferrochrome is a corrosion-resistant alloy of chrome and iron with a chrome content of between 50% and 60%. High Carbon Ferrochrome is an alloy with the following typical specifications:

  • Cr - 50 - 60%
  • C - 6 - 8 %
  • Si - 3.0% max
  • Mn - 0.3% max
  • S - 0.06% max
  • P - 0.03% max

Sizing varies upon request to meet specific customer requirements

Product Uses

Chromium in general is one of industry's most important and versatile elements and most of it is used as a feed in the production of stainless, tool and a variety of alloy steels, as well as in cast irons and non- ferrous superalloys. It also has significant chemical and refractory uses. Typically high carbon ferrochrome is used to enhance steel's hardness, creep and impact strengths, and resistance to corrosion and oxidation. Its best-known and major metallurgical use is in stainless steel production where it is present at a minimum concentration of 11.5%, but can go as high as 30%. High carbon ferrochrome tends to be used where carbon control in the steel melt is possible after the addition of the ferro-alloy, or in steels where high carbon content is either desirable or acceptable. In contrast low carbon FeCr is used where carbon content must be suppressed and where this cannot be done after the ferro-alloy has been added. Charge chrome, a high-carbon FeCr with higher silicon content than the others, came to prominence as the efficient argon-oxygen decarburisation (AOD) refining process became standard practice in stainless steel production. With this equipment at their disposal steel makers have the benefit of being able to work with FeCr containing less chrome but with high carbon levels and still produce the finished steel grades – usually with low carbon content – that they require.


Zimbabwean HCFC producers are located in the Midlands region due to its centrality to most of the required raw materials. The main raw material in ferrochrome production, chromite ore is mined in the Northern, Central and Southern part of the great dyke. All ferrochrome plants are thus strategically located in the Midlands province:

  • Zimasco - Kwekwe
  • Zimalloys - Gweru
  • Maranatha - Kadoma
  • Wel-Mining - Gweru

Product Description

Ferro Silicon Chrome is an alloy with the following typical specifications:
  • Cr - 34 - 39%
  • C - 0.03; 0.05; or 0.10 %max
  • Si - 42 - 44%
  • Mn - 0.40% max
  • S - 0.01% max
  • P - 0.03% max

Other Chemical and Physical Data

  • Colour: Silver/Metallic
  • Odor: None
  • Granulometry/Size: 10 – 50mm, 0 – 3mm, 0 – 10mm, 3 – 10mm
  • Flashpoint: None
  • Specific Gravity: 3.5 – 5.5g/cm3
  • Dangerous components: None
  • Physical Status: Heavy Dense Metallic Material
  • Appearance: Lumps or Fines
  • Melting Point: 1700 – 25000 C
  • Volatility: Non Volatile
  • Toxicity: None
  • Material is available in bulk or packed in 132 litre drums (Usually containing 400 kg). Special sizing specifications can be considered.

    Product Uses

    FSC is traditionally used is a source of silicon units in the production of Low Carbon Ferrochrome. It can also be used as a source of silicon and chromium units with very low carbon content and low residual impurities. In electric melting FSC can be used to replace part of the charge chrome and ferrosilicon additions, and will result in a lower carbon content of the melt, and hence reduced refining time and costs. In AOD operations FSC can be used to replace ferrosilicon as a slag reducing addition, and as a source of Low Carbon chromium units. It is used in the EAF to maintain silicon levels in the bath to prevent chromium oxidation and for final chromium adjustments. In many aspects of stainless and special steel manufacture where the products contain chromium, FSC can have major cost benefits. It can result in cash savings by virtue of its low carbon content, and for any plant where decarburisation capacity is a constraint, additional capacity can be achieved at no capital cost by using FSC in place of HCFC or charge chrome in combination with ferrosilicon.

    Plant Location

    • Gweru – Midlands Province

    Product Description

    Composed of crushed/washed granules of chromite ore with particle size ranging from -5mm to 25mm. Chromite ores have a wide variety of uses. The Chromite is classified according to the expected industrial end use as follows:

    • Metallurgical
    • Refractory
    • Chemical
    • Foundry

    Alternative Classification Is As Follows

    • High chromium : Cr203 40-45%, Cr/Fe >2:1 Metallurgical grade
    • High iron : Cr203 35-40%, Cr/Fe 1.5:1 Metallurgical/Chemical grade
    • High aluminium : Cr203 33-38%, Cr/Fe 2:1 Refractory grade
    • Milled chromite is also used as a pigment in the manufacture of ceramic tiles

    Mine Location

    The ores are principally mined and processed by small to medium scale miners scattered along the Great Dyke notably:

    • Bunday Technical
    • First Access
    • Turnoff Investments

    Description of Product(s)

    Zimbabwe produces steel in the form listed below:

    • Blooms/Billets
    • Window sections
    • Channel Iron
    • Angle Iron
    • Deformed Bars
    • Round Bars
    • Flat Bars
    • Square Bars
    • Steel related products like wires: These come in various sizes and are available in standard lengths of 6m, 9m and 12m.


    The Steel is produced to international standards. The types of steels produced by Ziscosteel are listed as follows:

    • Structural steels – BS 4360: 43A, 50B, 50C
    • Wire drawing steels
    • Reinforcing steels
    • Special steels (alloy)
    • Special purpose steels
    • Spring steel
    • Free cutting steel
    • Forging steel

    The types of steels produced by Steelmakers are listed as follows:

    • F7 Window Section
    • Equal Angles (Tolerance to din 1028)
    • Light General Purpose Flat Bars (Tolerance to din 1017)
    • Medium Channels
    • Share & Beam Sections
    • Unequal Angles
    • RRT13 Section, RT6 Section

    Steel is mainly used in the construction industry.


    The two main producers are situated in Redcliff, Midlands Province with other small producers located in Harare.