Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT yesterday signed an investment deal worth over $5 billion with Chinese steel giant, Tsingshan, for the setting up of a steel plant in Mvuma and to bankroll a number of mining activities.
The deal is expected to create at least 30 000 jobs.
Tsingshan and Zimbabwe signed a memorandum of agreement, which served as an addendum to an initial agreement signed in June last year between the two parties.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando and the firm’s chairman Mr Chen Shangsong, signed the documents as President Mnangagwa and other senior Government officials witnessed.
Briefing the President on the development, Minister Chitando said the first phase of investment will see the injection of $2 billion.
“The initial phase is valued at $2 billion and the value for the second phase, as the projects are implemented, will depend largely on the feasibility studies which will be carried out, but we are looking at between $5 billion and $10 billion.
“We are looking at employing 20 000 for the ferro-chrome project and another 10 000 on the other projects, giving us a total of 30 000 jobs,” he said.
The steel manufacturing plant, the minister said, would require significant increases in key feedstock minerals, namely iron ore, nickel and coal.
To that end, Government has allocated the company special mining rights.
Since June last year, Minister Chitando said Tsingshan has made significant progress in implementing the deal.
“In terms of the MOU signed around June last year, the Zimbabwean Government committed to providing resources to Tsingshan in the form of chrome, nickel, iron ore and coal resources.
“Since then, Tsingshan has concluded the expansion drive of 100 000 tonnes of ferro-chrome at the Selous plant.
“It has started resource evaluation at the coal special grant in Hwange. It also started resource evaluation at the special grant in Mvuma area.
“Conclusions in terms of the company’s granting of nickel concessions were done,” said Minister Chitando.
The minister said the initial project is set to establish a two-million-tonne steel facility in the Mvuma area, of which one million tonnes will be carbon steel and the other 1 million tonnes being stainless steel.
Minister Chitando said yesterday’s MOU expanded scope of the original agreement in a number of respects.
“The initial MOU targeted the production of ferrochrome specifically for consumption in the Mvuma area, but it is now targeting the production of 1 million tonnes, which is for both local consumption and for export.
“The initial MOU targeted the production of coke specific for consumption in the Mvuma area, but the new one is targeting consumption in Mvuma and for export worldwide.
“In addition to the conversion of coal to coke, the MOU also provides for the research for Tsingshan to produce chemicals from part of the coke to be produced,” said Minister Chitando.
He added that the MOU provides for the construction of a 600 megawatts power plant in two phases of 300 megawatts each.
In terms of the MOU, Tsingshan will also be involved in lithium mining and value addition.
They also agreed to revamp the railway system to transport the products.
“The MOU also includes Tsingshan looking into the possibility of working with the Government and other investors in exploring the upgrading of the railway to the port or the construction of a new railway line, whichever will be established to be more economically feasible.
“It also provides for the establishment of a dedicated port along the coast which will handle production coming from various operations in Zimbabwe,” said Minister Chitando.
Tsingshan chairman Mr Chen hailed the Zimbabwean Government for support saying his company intended to invest more in the country.
“Thank you for the support from Government since 2013 and we intend to invest more in Zimbabwe.
“We have invested $10 billion in Indonesia and we want to do the same in Zimbabwe. Thank you for the continued support,” he said.