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Building of Africa's biggest steel plant begins

by Staff reporter
04 Mar 2022 at 05:37hrs | Views
CONSTRUCTION of what will be Africa's biggest iron ore mine and a carbon steel plant in Manhize, Mvuma in Midlands Province, is on course as groundwork has been completed with electricity now connected to the US$1 billion project site.

Chinese global steelmaker, Tsingshan Holding Group is undertaking the project.
Administration offices under construction are nearing completion while roads have been constructed to improve accessibility.

While the construction of furnaces is still at an infant stage, the company has already set up a cement mixing plant with a capacity of producing at least 60 cubic metres per hour.

The company is expected to create 6 000 jobs.

With a dam on Munyati River, a new bridge, a tarred road, a 40km rail link to Gweru and an electricity substation, the project is expected to revamp the country's infrastructural development.

The establishment of the steel company will also result in the establishment of a new town in Manhize.

A steel industrial park will also be set up and there will be downstream industries.

The coming in of Tsingshan is a direct result of President Mnangagwa's investment trip to China in 2018.

The consolidated mining investment by Tsingshan Holding Group will also come with a massive value addition of the country's minerals.

The company's iron ore and carbon steel plant which will also include the production of Fluorite and Limestone will be the largest in the Sub Saharan region.

The country's import bill is currently congested by steel related products which will be eliminated once mining operations get underway.

Besides fostering local economic linkages, the investment will also support other unrelated sectors of the economy.

In an interview, Tsingshan Holdings general manager Mr Benson Xu said he was satisfied with progress on ground.

"So far administration offices are under construction and are nearing completion, roads have been constructed to improve accessibility.

The company has already set up a cement mixing plant with a capacity of producing at least 60 cubic metres per hour.

This is a commitment being fulfilled by the country and my company. The first phase is set to be completed within the next two years," he said.

Mr Benson said this is the third project being undertaken by his company after the Hwange and Chegutu projects.

The group has already established a similar mine in Chegutu through its subsidiary Afrochine smelting plant located in Selous.

It also has a 150 000-tonne coke battery in Hwange.

"We are not going to stop here but we are progressing. A steel industrial park will be set up here. There will be downstream industry which will be set up here. We are happy with the support we have been getting from the Government. If we fail on some issues, please advise us so that we do things properly," he said.

Former Zimbabwe top diplomat to China, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, who is familiar with the company's operations, said the steel giant's presence will fast-track the attainment of Vision 2030.

Ambassador Mutsvangwa, who is Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity said: "I think we can all agree that these guys mean business. They have made Indonesia the second largest steel producing country in the world.

We are looking at the scale. This was not done overnight. Our President is a visionary president. He has managed to attract people with a global footprint to be part of Zimbabwe's development trajectory."

He said there were spanners thrown along the way, but was glad to note that there was now progress on the site.

"We are witnessing the revival of the fortunes of the Midlands as a powerful steel producing giant across the continent. We are looking at pushing in excess of 8 million tonnes of steel so we are talking about the revival of the railways system.

We are also going to have a new port in Mozambique to cut costs as we are now using Durban port. We are aiming to be bigger than Indonesia.

They are here to make our dreams a reality. They did not become who they are through cutting corners. They have  always been there and came through a lot. We are on the right track," said Ambassador Mutsvangwa.

He said the engagement with the investor is testimony that Zimbabwe is open for business.

Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Larry Mavima said: "This is what we want to see in the Second Republic. The Investor is demonstrating the capacity. We as Government are here to support."
Minister Mavima said he was excited because already people are being employed at the site.

"We are going to see a whole new town being developed. We are walking the talk because this is the reality. When there is an investor, we don't want bottlenecks.

A lot of people come with beautiful plans but nothing comes out but here we are witnessing progress. Where we disagree we sit and solve and there is no need to throw spanners," he said.

China has over the past few years emerged as a major foreign investor in Zimbabwe, with its firms mostly involved in mining of gold, chrome and diamonds and building power stations.

The Second Republic has set out an ambitious drive to increase revenue from mining to $12 billion by 2023 by increasing output of gold, platinum and diamonds, among other minerals.

Source - The Chronicle
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