Freedom Mupanedemo Midlands Bureau
The US$1 billion iron and steel plant being set by Dinson Iron and Steel Company (DISCO) in Manhize, near Mvuma is now 25 percent complete, with material to complete the first phase of the plant now on the ground.
Briefing Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in charge of Implementation and Monitoring, Dr Jorum Gumbo during a tour of the plant yesterday, Disco senior manager, Mr Bai Johnson said all critical equipment to complete the first phase of the plant was now on the ground thanks to Government’s facilitation in the import process.
On Tuesday, some blast furnace components worth millions of dollars arrived at the plant much to the cheer from the villagers from the surrounding community who are excited by the development.
Mr Johnson said more equipment, requiring more than 100 abnormal trucks to ferry, was now at the Durban Port in South Africa.
“We are now 25 percent complete in terms of the construction work of the first phase, but all the material and equipment required is now on the ground.
“We have already completed administration blocks, the platforms for the blast furnaces are already in place and everything is moving according to plan,” he said.
Mr Johnson said the plant has huge ore reserves that will take the mine’s life time beyond 200 years with the potential to produce 1,2 million tonnes of iron and steel per annum.
“This is a huge investment which will take up to $1 billion to complete and already we have employed over 600 workers most of whom who are locals. When complete we will be producing around 1,2 million tonnes of steel with a workforce of around 3 000,” he said
Mr Johnson said apart from constructing a separate power line from over 100km from the site, the company was also constructing a railway line from Manhize to Masvingo in preparation for exports through the Mozambique border.
“We are working overtime to beat our targets and by early next year we will be operating,” he said.
Dr Gumbo said he was impressed by the progress at the site adding that Government would do everything within its means to assist the investor.
“This is huge investment and we are happy with what we have witnessed in terms of progress and commitment to invest under the Second Republic,” he said.
Dr Gumbo said the country has been losing millions of forex through imports of steel since the demise of Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) and the coming in of the Disco was good news to Government.
“In recent years, we have also experienced a lot of job losses in the steel industry but steel is an enabler to every aspect of the economy. We are happy that a giant in the steel industry is emerging,” he said.
The Manhize Steel plant, which is being set by DISCO, a subsidiary of the giant steel producer Tshishang Holdings group was recently placed under the Government’s 100-day priority projects.
The multi-billion-dollars project will culminate in the establishment of a new town in Manhize area.