Munyaradzi Musiiwa : Midlands Correspondent
GOVERNMENT is finalising the revival strategy for Zisco Steel which will see a new investor coming on board and taking up a controlling stake in the giant Kwekwe steel manufacturing company. Speaking at the South Africa-Zimbabwe Business Forum at Village Lodge in Gweru on Wednesday, Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Chiratidzo Iris Mabuwa said Government was prioritising the revival of Zisco Steel which is strategic in the economic turnaround of the country.
Deputy Minister Mabuwa said negotiations with a new player were advanced following the collapse of the Essar Holdings deal.
She said, Essar started backtracking on the deal following the plummeting of metal prices on the international market and proposed that Government should find a new player to partner the Indian company.
“The revival of Zisco is now at its final stage. As you are aware we have been negotiating with Essar Holdings but when metal prices started plummeting on the international market they felt that the business would not be as lucrative as they anticipated.
“However, they did not totally withdraw but asked not to take the entire portfolio and also requested us to find another partner who will join them in the business.
“It should be understood that when we engaged Essar, they were not the only ones interested in Zisco. We decided that we could not just sit down on an asset and there is something that we are doing now. At the moment I might not be right person to make the announcement but whatever we are doing pertaining to the revival of Zisco is in its final stages,” he said.
Deputy Minister Mabuwa said Government had also found South African partners for ZIMASCO and was keen to revive Zimbabwe Alloys Company (ZimAlloys).
“It is also in this province that the two biggest ferrochrome processors, ZimAlloys and ZIMASCO, are based. I am happy to announce that ZIMASCO has returned to life by leasing out three furnaces to Portnex of South Africa and they have since commenced operations.
The Essar deal was expected to bring back life to Redcliff while at the same time uplifting the well being of over 3 500 workers. Under the deal, Essar, were to invest over $4 billion over the next four years at New Zim Steel, including setting up a 600MW thermal power plant to support the steelworks.