Chinese firm to set up $3 bln stainless steel plant in Midlands

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Taurai Mangudhla and Tinashe Makichi 

HARARE – A Chinese steel manufacturing firm, Tsingshan Limited  is set to establish a $3 billion stainless steel manufacturing plant in the Midlands province.

Tsingshan Limited already has operations in Zimbabwe through its ferrochrome smelting firm, Afrochine based in Selous, Mashonaland West. The steel company is one of the largest stainless steel manufacturers in the world with an annual turnover of close to $10 billion.

The deal was signed at the ongoing Zimbabwe-China Business Forum between officials from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Special Advisor to the President Christopher Mutsvangwa and officials from Tsingshan Limited.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando on the sidelines of the business forum said the deal was in line with Government’s thrust on value addition and beneficiation of minerals.

“Most of the minerals that we produce in Zimbabwe usually go on to be used in stainless steel industries across the world. As you know some of the key ingredients of stainless steel are iron ore, nickel and ferrochrome and we all have those minerals in the country.

“Because of that we thought we should come up with our own stainless steel plant and there is a feasibility study which will commence immediately on July 1, 2018 towards the establishment of the plant. It will be done jointly between the investor and representatives from Government of Zimbabwe,” said Chitando.

“The exact value of the deal will be determined by the feasibility study but suffice to say the whole value towards the roll out of the plant is about $3 billion.”

He said one of the feeds to this deal will be 600 000 tonnes of ferrochrome.  The country produces around 300 000 tonnes currently.

Chitando said the plant will also require an input of about 200 000 tonnes of nickel and the coming of the stainless steel plant is massive for local mineral production.

“After that we will then see the extraction of iron ore. Coking coal ore production is also expected to rise as it is one of the key ingredients,” said Chitando

The plant which is expected to produce 2 million tonnes of stainless steel will quickly translate to about $2,5 billion in revenue.

Chitando said the deal will also see the construction of a 500 megawatt power plant and this has a cascading effect to other downstream industries.