While the miners of the ACR Company continue their strike, the heavy
trucks filled full of chrome continue to transport Albania’s most
important mineral from Qafe Bualli towards Elbasan and the port of
The Bulqize mining complex has currently 26 different companies that operate with 10 or 20 miners, who continue to search for chrome. These small companies who have also had the most fatal work accidents in the past years, are not on strike. Production here continues and now it feels even better, due to the increased demand that has caused the strike. According to “Shqip” newspaper, pirate merchants are also working in parallel by hiring poor people to collect chrome from the mountain sides with bare hands, there where it was thrown around during the communist era.
Entire families come to gather chrome around the mountain, some parts of this rich mineral that has escaped to the preliminary selection. These workers are paid from 3000 to 8000 ALL per ton. Tirana Police has frequently been called in to move away the poor chrome gatherers, after the interference of legal or half legal competitive firms.
One part of this chrome is exported to China from Durres, and another one is bought by ACR, which turns it to ferrochrome in its implant in Elbasan, a process that highly increases the value of the mineral. Albania has other chrome sources in Kukes and Tropoje, but not as rich as in Bulqize, which is a rare source in the world, with a 30-45 chrome percentage. While the so-called Zone D has even minerals with 55% chrome.