Freedom Mupanedemo-Midlands Bureau
The granting of national project status to the $1 billion Manhize Steel plant near Mvuma will help speed up the setting of key infrastructure with the plant now expected to be operational as early as next year.
The Manhize steel plant which is being set up by Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco), a subsidiary of steel giant Tshingshan Holding Group is now part of Government’s 100-day priority projects.
Speaking after a tour of the project with a delegation from the Midlands province in Mvuma yesterday, Zanu PF national spokesperson Ambasador Christopher Mutsvangwa said the President was set to proclaim next year’s harmonised elections at the site while officially commissioning it.
He said the Second Republic has identified the project as its priority project.
“This has become Government’s 100-day project and the President has promised that he will come here and proclaim the next harmonised election dates with the furnaces up and running,” said Ambassador Mutsvangwa.
“The blast furnaces will be belching out plumes of smoke as they gush out molten steel.
“This will in turn to be moulded into rolls and bars destined for the huge workshops.
“Thereafter merchants — local, regional and global — will flock to the steel market place earning Zimbabwe billions of dollars in savings on imported steel and additional proceeds from exports.”
The President’s vision, said Ambassador Mutsvangwa, was clear as he continues to walk the talk with Zimbabwe set to be the new continental powerhouse in the steel production industry.
“The President’s vision is clear. He is a man who walks the talk. He said no one and no place shall be left behind and this is what we are witnessing,” he said.
Amb Mutsvangwa said the furnaces for the new steel plant were now on the way with the steel company set to change the face of the country.
“Already the furnaces are now at the Durban port and the investors are in the process of facilitating the transportation.
“The company will be producing much more than the country’s needs which will guarantee exports,” he said.
He underscored that Tsingshan Holdings Group is the global premier steel producer. It has operations in China, Indonesia, India, Zimbabwe and the US.
Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Senator Larry Mavima who also attended the tour of the new plant commended the company for investing hugely into the country, adding that Government would continue with its business-friendly approach to new investors.
“Our role is to facilitate business. Many countries are seeking investments of such magnitude. We have heard the investors’ request that this place be placed under special economic zone.
“We are going to bring those who are responsible for such so they come and visit here and appreciate the development taking place,” he said.
Meanwhile, Disco project manager, Mr Wilfred Motsi said work was progressing well at the new plant with the lifting of duty and other bottlenecks on the equipment being imported set to speed up the project completion.
He said administration blocks and other company employee houses were now 90 percent complete.
“We are now waiting for the arrival of our furnaces with all the underground foundations on where they will be mounted already complete.”
Mr Motsi said the company had also completed building houses for the relocated families.
He commended Government for the support it was giving to the investor.
He said the company, with Government assistance recently entered into an agreement with the power utility for the construction of a 400kV power line to the plant.
“We are very grateful for the support we are getting from the Government of Zimbabwe,” he said.
The establishment of a special economic zone is expected to attract more investment to the area as the public sector through Government will provide some level of support for the investor to obtain a reasonable rate of return on the project.
The multi-billion dollar project, which will culminate in the establishment of a new town in Manhize, is also expected to give a lifeline to the National Railways of Zimbabwe as new railway lines will be constructed.
Tsingshan has chosen Zimbabwe as a carbon steel base because of its abundant iron ore deposits in Manhize, it’s world third ranking in ferrochrome resources from the 600km Great Dyke, an important steel alloy, as well as its bountiful coke from coal.
Courtesy of this investment, Zimbabwe will emerge as the world’s lowest cost carbon steel producer.
President Mnangagwa has been ardently courting the investor, chairman Xiang Guangda of Tsingshan Holdings Group since the latter’s maiden visit to Zimbabwe in 2013 when he was still Vice President.
The relationship blossomed when President Mnangagwa ascended to the apex of national leadership. He would return the business courtesy by visiting Chairman Xiang in his home provincial capital of Hangzhou during the 2018 State visit to China.
The world class steel project is expected to attract the advanced skills garnered by the Zimbabwe Diaspora from their various overseas jurisdictions.