New Zimsteel to start production


Eighteen months from now, half a million tonnes of steel is expected to start rolling out of Redcliff’s former sleeping steel giant Ziscosteel (now New Zimsteel) following a Cabinet directive late December that new owners Essar Africa Holdings, should start work.

The directive effectively sealed a deal reached between the government and Essar last year which saw the Indian-based company buying 60% of New Zimsteel and 80% of New Zim Mineral (formerly Bimco).

The deal was almost scuttled after top government officials accused each other of throwing spanners to scamper the multi-million dollar deal.

Essar Africa Holdings resident director, Firdhose Coovadia told NewsDay yesterday that following the directive the company would effectively start work on the plant this month-end.

He said they expected to have rolled out 500 000 tonnes of steel in 18 months.

“The Cabinet directive has given us the green light to start operations although the issue of share certificates is still outstanding. Most of our staff is on holiday now, but as soon as we are back, we will start work on the plant,” said Coovadia.

“We will be producing half a million tonnes of steel within the first 18 months and project that within 34 months we should be up to 1,1 million tonnes and in the long run, we should be doing 2,5 million tonnes.”

Coovadia added the company would soon carry out an audit to establish how huge a debt the former Ziscosteel owed to its suppliers and service providers.

“We have to audit all the claims to ascertain the origins and if the claim is genuine, we will sit down with Zimra and councils around New Zimsteel to ascertain what they were owed. So this is not going to take a day or two, but it’s going to be done,” Coovadia said.