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ZiscoSteel to invest US$32m into iron ore, limestone mining

REDCLIFF-BASED steelmaker ZiscoSteel requires roughly US$32 million to resuscitate the iron ore mining business and restart limestone mining, a company official said last week.

Kuvimba Mining House (KMH) was appointed by the government in December last year to oversee the resuscitation of the firm.

ZiscoSteel board chairperson Martin Manuhwa said during a media tour that they need about US$30 million to resuscitate the iron ore mining business and roughly US$2 million to restart limestone mining.

In total, KMH intends to invest US$300 million to restart the steel plant.

“The investment required for the steel plant is US$300 million and then we expect US$200 million per annum revenue from that investment,” he said.

“We also have, as an integrated steel company, Bimco. After we have spent the US$30 million, we expect revenue of US$50 million to US$100 million per annum. That again will create more employment.”

Manuhwa said KMH would bring in new technology that would make the steel producer one of the best producers of decarbonised steel in southern Africa. ZiscoSteel’s operations are integrated and comprise iron ore mining and the steel making business. The firm was once one of the largest steel mills in southern Africa, producing over one million tonnes of steel annually and had around 5 000 workers.

Several attempts to resuscitate ZiscoSteel have hit a snag. But with the coming in of KMH, government is confident that the erstwhile steel giant will be resuscitated.

ZiscoSteel chief executive officer Farai Karonga said they were targeting local and international markets.

“Our market, we are thinking of the Zimbabwean market. We will be getting some very stiff competition from the Manhize people, but that’s the primary steel,” he said.

“So, we will be getting competition from them, but we are willing to compete. Then we also want to export. In the old days the split was like 30% Zimbabwe in terms of market and then 70% going out.

“Essentially, US$30 million has been set aside for the mining side and in the limestone mine we are talking of something like US$4,3 million to get that and they have the funds. So that’s in terms of what is being invested. They’re beginning with limestone mining but there is US$30 million to resuscitate Ripple Creek in Buchwa, Mberengwa.”

Chinese company Dinson Iron and Steel Company is constructing a US$1 billion Manhize Iron and Steel Plant in Mvuma.

Karonga said on the mining side they had commenced feasibility studies which should be completed in the next three months.

Production at Ripple Creek is expected in the first quarter of next year. – (Newsday)

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