Kwekwe-based tar producer Zimchem Refiners (Pvt) Limited has expressed concern over local companies which sideline its products, choosing to source from neighbouring countries.
A subsidiary of both Hwange and Ziscosteel, Zimchem Refiners processes crude benzol and tar into a range of chemical products that are used for road works and timber protection, among other chemical products.
Zimchem acting managing director Mr Tendai Shoko said the company, which resumed operations in June after a long sabbatical following shortage of raw materials, was ready to meet the local demand of creosote for road construction.
“There is a lot of road work going on like the Harare-Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway project,” he said. “We understand that about five contractors were given the mandate to carry out the job on the project and have since been given the list of products for use.
“It is sad that they have chosen to import the MC30 which is equivalent to the tar that we have in stock and have been using on other roads in the country.”
Mr Shoko said the company had large stocks of tar prime that could be used for local road construction, but the contractors turned them down.
“Government is aware that we have large volumes of prime tar that is tried and tested and has been used in most roads in the country,” he said. “We are confident that we are able to meet the demand if given a contract to supply.
“Usually, we used to say payment first before collection, but in this case we had even relaxed the conditions and said they can use and pay later, but still they turned us down.”
Mr Shoko said they were also facing challenges where most companies were also choosing to import timber processing chemicals from neighbouring countries.
He said they had since engaged Government over the matter and it was being looked into. The company is facing operational challenges due to shortage of raw materials.
Zimchem relied on Hwange Colliery and Ziscosteel for raw materials, but it is getting the tar from Hwange Coal NA Gasification Company, which is failing to meet demand.