National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) board chairman NRZ) board chairman Martin Dinha yesterday said they were in discussions with a Chinese company known as China Mining Logistics Holding Company for a deal to move about two million tonnes of iron ore per year from Zimbabwe to China.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Addressing journalists soon after meeting the company’s officials in Bulawayo, Dinha said the deal, if sealed, would help capacitate the parastatal.
“The Chinese have a proposal. They are known as China Mining Logistics Holding Company. They have discovered iron ore resources in Zimbabwe. So they want to exploit a minimum of two million tonnes per year,” he said.
“They want us to carry iron ore from Zimbabwe through Beira to China for their iron ore industry and later on they want to establish an iron and steel company in Zimbabwe. So they have come for initial inquiries. We are engaging them for initial inquiries and a framework on how we can assist them and then we benefit.
“So their discussion is around whether NRZ has capacity to carry that from Bindura to Beira. It’s a business opportunity for us, but we require to capitalise ourselves in terms of locomotives and wagons.”
Dinha added: “It’s a scary figure for NRZ, why because we want the capacities. They want 70 to 80 000 tonnes per day. This is not a joke. So we are engaging them because it’s an opportunity for us. Once we snatch that business, we are home and dry. Then we can improve the social conditions of our workers, pay them better salaries.”
Dinha said their strategic approach was to go after every mining concern in Zimbabwe and clinch business deals.
NRZ requires about US$1,9 billion to fully recapitalise its operations. It needs to rehabilitate its track, acquire locomotives, wagons and upgrade information communication technology to enable the parastatal to increase freight volumes.
Last year, government cancelled a US$400 million NRZ recapitalisation programme signed two years ago with the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group after the group reportedly “failed” to comply with contractual timelines.