Michael Magoronga Midlands Correspondent
ZimCoke yesterday took over a coke oven at Ziscosteel in Redcliff as the $133 million deal starts bearing fruit. Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Nqobizitha Ndlovu commissioned the ZimCoke (Private) Limited takeover viewed as the first real step towards the revitalisation of the steel giant.
ZimCoke and Zisco signed an agreement of sale in 2017 under which ZimCoke bought the coke-making assets of Zisco — the plant and machinery, land and buildings, and associated infrastructure of coal handling and wagons.
The company, which is expected to inject a further $150 million after also taking over the $220 million Ziscosteel debt to Germany bank KfW that the company has almost cleared, is expected to commence refurbishments of the four coking ovens and production will begin in six months’ time. The ZimCoke investment is expected to create nearly 1 000 jobs in the system with many more in all associated industries and service providers.
Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Minister Ndlovu said the ZimCoke project was key in unlocking a new era of heavy industrial development.
“It has now taken three years for the conditions precedent to the ratification of this transaction to be implemented but, at last, the day has come when we can announce that the new investor has been authorised to implement its plans and this was finally agreed by the Cabinet. In my view, this key project could open up a new era of heavy industrial development in the province and the country at large.”