TINASHE MAKICHI IN BULAWAYO

Stainless steel manufacturing firm Tsingshan Iron and Steel Group of China has started undertaking a feasibility study to ascertain the possibility of setting up a stainless steel manufacturing plant in the Midlands Province.

Government this year sealed a deal with one of the world’s biggest stainless steel manufacturing firms which will lead to the construction of a $3 billion stainless steel manufacturing plant. Once the setup is complete, the plant is expected to rack in $2 billion in revenue annually.

Tsingshan Iron and Steel Group which is China’s second largest stainless steel producer is already operational in Zimbabwe through its ferrochrome smelting subsidiary, Afrochine based in Selous, Mashonaland West.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said government under this project has already awarded a special mining grant for iron ore to the Chinese firm.

“The Chinese firm has started conducting feasibility studies. The company’s chairman met me yesterday  and he showed his commitment to undertaking this project.  As government we have already given them the special mining grant for iron ore which is one of the major raw materials for the project.

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

Chitando said the plant will also require an input of about 200 000 tonnes of nickel and 600 000 tonnes of ferrochrome. “After that we will then see the extraction of iron ore. Coking coal 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 generation.

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