Manhize plant brings limestone production unit into operation The Manhize steel plant is expected to be one of Africa’s biggest integrated steelworks and is owned by Disco, one of the three local subsidiaries of China’s stainless steel producer, Tsingshan Holdings Group Limited.

THE Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) has switched on its limestone production unit in preparation for the powering of the US$1,5 billion iron and steel plant starting today in Manhize near Mvuma in the Midlands province.

Lime production is critical in the purification of iron ore, which often contains silicon dioxide (sand) impurities, which must be removed during the process.

Company engineers say limestone decomposes in the heat of the furnace to calcium oxide, which reacts with the sandy impurities (silicon dioxide) to form slag.

The successful implementation of the Manhize steel project is a milestone achievement in Zimbabwe’s economic transformation journey and proof of the positive impact of the comprehensive reforms brought about by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa.

Yesterday, our news crew witnessed the process of lime production, which is taking place at Manhize while the company gears to conduct critical test runs to ensure that all components are working properly.

The giant factory was a hive of activity as workers in different sections were seen putting the final touches on their units. Trucks carrying limestone, coal peas and other raw materials used in steel production were also lining up to offload the raw materials.

The test runs, pencilled for May 24 to 27 will be followed by the official commissioning of the plant tentatively in early June.

In an interview, Dinson administration manager Mr Michael Wang said the limestone processing plant was now operational.

“Lime is used to clean the iron ore, which will be having impurities. So, it’s a purifier and will be directed to the sintering plant.

“We are producing it ahead of energising the plant, which has to be done before the end of the month,” he said.

“There are huge piles of limestone coming from Masvingo just to show how ready we are to commence production.”

The company recently completed the 88kV line from Sherwood block in Kwekwe, which is now at the local substation. The massive iron and steel plant is expected to be one of Africa’s biggest integrated steelworks and is owned by Disco, one of the three local subsidiaries of China’s stainless steel producer, Tsingshan Holdings Group Limited.

The group also owns Dinson Colliery in Hwange in Matabeleland North and a ferrochrome plant, Afrochine Smelting Limited, in Selous.

The Manhize investment positions Zimbabwe among the ranks of global steel manufacturing hubs, with projections indicating the country’s potential to emerge as a future powerhouse in the steel and iron industry. Once a dense forest and bushes, the landscape has given way to a thriving industrial hub, as buildings emerge from the wilderness.

Staff houses, warehouses and other essential infrastructure have been constructed, paving the way for the steel giant to commence production.

The mega-investment project encompasses the establishment of a Smart City to be called Manhize Town and plans for a science university, demonstrating the huge impact of the investment.

Preliminary projections already indicate net revenue of up to US$10 million in the first phase, with estimates rising to a staggering US$4,25 billion at the fourth phase of production.

President Mnangagwa conducted a tour of the factory in March and was charmed by the progress on the ground. During the tour, company officials paid tribute to the Government for facilitating smooth investment and have committed to creating opportunities for citizens, targeting 3 000 direct jobs in the first phase with the number expected to surplus 10 000 in the fourth phase of production.

The giant steel plant is projected to produce 600 000 tonnes of products in the first phase, rising to 1,2 million tonnes in the second phase then 3,2 million tonnes in the third phase and ultimately five million tonnes per year in the final phase, earning the country millions of dollars in foreign currency.

Other products that the company will eventually produce include pipes, bolts and nuts, smaller slags, rolled tubes, fences, shafts, wires and bars, among others.

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