By Tendai Sahondo (News Editor) – Wednesday 10 July 2019
NORTON (Mining Index) – The Zimbabwe Institute of Foundrymen (ZIF) has called on government to effectively stop the hemorrhage of scrap metal to South Africa as this robs the industry of the much needed pig iron, a key component in the foundry process.
The export of scrap metal has been banned by government; however metal traders are allowed to export the product under a special permit issued by the ministry of industry and commerce.
Speaking in an interview with Mining Index, ZIF president, Itai Zaba said the industry is now operating at 30% capacity owing to the unavailability of pig iron.
“We used to rely on Zisco Steel to provide us with pig iron, the major raw material in our production process; however since the close of the steel giant, we have really been constrained. The only other source of pig iron is from scrap metal which unfortutley is being shipped out of the country to the detriment of the sector. We are now operating at only 30% capacity utilisation due to the unavailability of scrap metal. We cannot generate scrap on a regular basis; the decline in production has also forced us to shed jobs. Furthermore, this has escalated our cost of production affecting our ability to export as we become uncompetitive.
“We call on government to immediately stop the hemorrhage of this precious raw material which we are equally capable of recycling and beneficiating. Most of the scrap metal is obtained from farms and mines when they dispose of obsolete machinery. It is no surprise that Zimbabwe is the only country that exports scrap metal in southern africa as all other countries know the value of this product.
He said the sector is a key cog in the economic matrix as it provides most of the machinery and tools used in both small and large scale mining operations.
“We are capable of producing most of the machinery needed in the mining sector, all we need is a little support from our government and we can easily substitute the components that are currently being imported. Our desire is to contribute more meaningfully to the economic resuscitation drive,” he added.
He said the industry has also been hard hit by the electricity challenges bedeviling the country and major brain drain as most experts in the industry have left for greener pastures across the boarder
The foundry sector is currently producing $10mln worth of products for the country every month. ENDS//