A steel mill will reduce its imports by 90%
Olivier Kazunga Senior Business Journalist
The billion-dollar steelmaking plant being developed by Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) in Manhize, Mvuma is expected to reduce steel imports into the country by at least 90%, according to responsible.
Disco, a subsidiary of Chinese steel giant Tsingshan Holdings, is developing Africa’s largest integrated steel plant in Zimbabwe.
The investment, which the government has granted national project status, is expected to have its first steel blast furnace operational by September next year.
Due to the closure of Redcliff-based steel producer Zisco in 2008, the country spends more than US$400 million a year on steel imports.
Given the importance of steel and steel products in supporting the operations of many other industries and the industrialization agenda, Zimbabwe’s steel import bill has remained high since the closure of Zisco.
Speaking at a signing ceremony for the joint venture agreement between Zesa Holdings and Disco in Harare yesterday, setting the tone for the construction of a 400kV transmission power line from Sherwood to Kwekwe to Manhize, the Chief of the Disco project, Wilfred Motsi, said:
“The first steel blast furnace will be operational by September next year. The Disco plant will reduce the import of steel products by 90% or even 100%.
“The equipment for the construction of the power line is already in Zimbabwe. Next week we will see another signing opportunity with a contractor who will build the power line. »
He said a total of 10,000 people would be employed directly while more than 50,000 people would be indirectly employed by the steel project.
Motsi praised the government for giving him the green light to partner with ZETDC in the development of the power line, saying it was not just a key catalyst for the steel project, but a revolutionary partnership and model that will benefit Zimbabwe’s economy.
“As you may know, my company is in the process of setting up the largest steel mill in Africa at Mvuma which is a new integrated steel operation alongside iron ore mining. We asked to be connected to the national electricity grid in order to access the energy necessary for our operations which require huge amounts of electricity and this had to be anchored on a brand new infrastructure development,” he said. he declares.
The environmental impact assessment exercise for the power line has already been completed and approved. Mr. Motsi added, “The Forestry Commission has given us a permit to allow us to clear the right of way for the power line and the Ministry of Lands has identified the affected farmers and the relocation process is underway,” he said. -he declares.
Given the financial and logistical implications of this project and the lead time for delivery of the steel mill itself, Mr Motsi said Dinson had offered to mobilize financial resources and expertise so that the investment can quickly take off.
“I am happy to report that through the involvement of various stakeholders from the government and its departments, we were able to resolve all the issues to achieve the happy occasion we are witnessing today.
“We are pursuing a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement with ZETDC with terms that will allow us to meet our electricity needs while the rest will meet public needs.
“Indeed, during the first phase of our project at the Mvuma steel plant, we will only need a fraction of our agreed electricity needs, which will allow more electricity to be channeled to other economy users,” he said.
Mr. Motsi said that with regard to the construction of the power line alone, a number of benefits would trickle down to communities and provinces and strengthen the development push in the decentralization program through localized development.
Disco expects approximately 300 jobs to be created directly and indirectly by the transmission line project with the local population expected to benefit from the construction of the power line.
“Let me emphasize that this is an opportunity for skilled and unskilled labor and we will ensure that 75% of the staff are residents of communities adjacent to the power line.
“Once completed, our power line will increase the electricity supply to ZETDC while adding key assets to the books of the Zimbabwe Electricity Company,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Engineer Howard Choga, Managing Director of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), said he was encouraged that the investment, which is a strategic national project, is on the about to give rise to Zesa’s largest customer project requiring more than 500 MW in the next three years, which is equivalent to almost a third of current consumption.
“The facility will also see the construction of two large electrical substations. On the other hand, the integrated project includes a carbon and steel plant, an iron ore mine and a ferrochrome plant which is expected to produce 1.2 million tons of iron and steel per year.
“This will be a huge boost for the country’s steel industry and is expected to generate thousands of employment opportunities while improving the livelihoods of the local community (Chivhu, Mvuma Manhize region),” he said. -he declares.
“It should be noted that Zesa, as a group, is aware that electricity is a key factor in achieving the vision 2030, National Development Strategy 1 and 2, where we believe that no one or any place must be left behind in terms of our electrification program.
“The company is clear on its strategic response to the national vision.”