Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
Zimphos is set to complete its plant facelift as the company expects an additional $2,2 million from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in addition to the $5 million that has already been disbursed.
During a tour of the company by Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha about three years ago, the company’s facilities had become so dilapidated and the whole complex resembled a ghost town. But with the injection of new capital there has been a massive change in terms of outlook and operational efficiencies.
Zimphos, which manufactures phosphate fertilisers, is a subsidiary of Chemplex Corporation that is wholly owned by the Industrial Development Corporation, a state-owned parastatal. Chemplex Corporation chief executive Tapuwa Mashingaidze, told The Herald Business that the group’s companies are now operating at meaningful capacity.
“We have done the majority of the refurbishments at Zimphos and we are still awaiting some additional funding from the RBZ. This has managed to boost some of our operational structures. The refurbishment exercise is expected to be complete anytime soon. This assistance from RBZ has gone a long way in boosting our prospects as a company,” said Mr Mashingaidze.
Zimphos has been struggling to raise operating capital while imports of fertiliser further exerted pressure on operations. The phosphates company has been producing 100 000 tonnes of phosphate fertiliser per annum compared to its original capacity of 250 000 tonnes and the deficit has been caused by the impact of imports to the local industry as well as availability of obsolete plant equipment.
Zimphos in 2014 was operating at eight percent capacity with the phosphoric acid plant offline for routine refurbishments. The company also has an Alum Sulphate plant. Zimphos also has a drying plant for Gypsum and the company has been recording revenue from the sale of the product.
Recapitalisation of Dorowa Minerals was critical since it produces key inputs in the production of fertiliser. The mine is located 3km south of the Save River in the Upper Save valley about 90km west of Mutare and is the only phosphate mine in Zimbabwe. Dorowa’s beneficiation plant consists of milling and flotation processes to produce phosphate concentrates, which are converted into superphosphates at Zimphos.
Ore from the pit is at 6,5 percent P2O5 and the concentrates being dried and sent to Zimphos are at 37 percent P2O5. The dried concentrates are sent to the railhead at Nyazura some 65km away by road and 190km to Zimphos by rail.
Zimphos requires $7,5 million for immediate refurbishments, which includes the following; sulphuric acid plant $4,2 million, phosphoric acid plant for TSP $1,5 million, Phosphates plant $600 000, Aluminium Sulphate Plant $450 000, Materials Handling Equipment $500 000 and factory buildings, structures and utilities $250 000.