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Essar frustrated by delays

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Essar Africa Holdings is frustrated by delays in concluding the multi-million dollar deal involving former iron and steel giant Ziscosteel leading to the creation of New Zimbabwe Steel and New Zimbabwe Minerals.

On Tuesday, Essar said it was still waiting for mineral certificates rights for its two subsidiaries.

Essar Global resident director for Middle East and Africa Firdhose Coovadia said despite the frustrations, the group remained hopeful the deal would come to its logical conclusion.

Officials from the Indian firm appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce yesterday to give oral evidence from Essar on its operations at New Zimbabwe Steel.

The media was, however, barred from attending the meeting as Essar felt there were some confidential issues Parliament wanted to know.

“Since the signing of the deal on March 9, it’s almost the end of the year, and we have not had control,” said Coovadia.

“I give government the benefit of doubt. It’s frustrating, but it’s rather better that the deal be concluded properly. We have not had formal communication from government. We are still waiting for them.”

Operations at New Zimbabwe Steel are still to resume despite the official handover of the now defunct entity, to new owners.

He said the company had since struck water and power agreements with the responsible ministers, but has deferred the agreement on transport until the deal has been finalised.

Coovadia said despite the delays, Essar was still hopeful it would start producing steel within 12 to 18 months from the day of gaining control of the company.

He said ministers in the inclusive government had assured the group that the deal was proceeding, but they wanted to get all the paper work in place.

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