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Chinese steel plant now 60% complete

Chinese giant, Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco)

THE US$1,5 billion steel plant being constructed in Mvuma, 200km south of Harare, by the Chinese giant, Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco), is now 60% complete, NewsDay Business heard yesterday.

Construction of the steel plant, which is touted as Africa’s biggest integrated steelworks, began last year.

Project manager Wilfred Motsi told NewsDay Business in an interview that construction work was at an advanced stage way ahead of schedule.

“Construction works are at 60% towards completion of the plant and we are anticipating to kick-start production from October to November this year,” Motsi said.

At the completion of the first phase, the plant will produce 1 200 million tonnes of carbon steel.

In 2022, the firm revealed that a power deal had already been signed for the plant with power utility, Zesa Holdings.

Under the deal, the Chinese firm will extend US$55 million in loans to Zesa, which will be used to construct a powerline linking its plant to the national grid.

Motsi said they were currently mobilising the equipment for the powerline after preliminary work and designs for the construction were completed.

He said they had also courted development partners for the construction of a railway line that would be linked to the plant.

“We have courted some development partners towards the construction of a railway line linking the plant and currently, we are doing feasibility studies which are at an advanced stage, once we are done then we start the construction,” Motsi said.

“We have also started the resettlement process of those people who were affected and we are parcelling out houses to them.”

The project manager said a total of US$50 million was availed for the construction of dams in the area which will supply water to the plant and the surrounding communities, including other mines.

“We have invested close to US$50 million towards the construction of dams which will supply 130 million megalitres of water to the plant and the communities and other mines and the town (Mvuma), including Chivhu, will benefit from the dam. At the plant, we will use one-tenth of the water in the dam and on this project, we are partnering Zinwa [Zimbabwe National Water Authority],” he added.

The firm said it saw opportunities in Zimbabwe despite that scores of steel firms, among them ZiscoSteel, have collapsed in the past two decades, forcing the country to import 90% of its steel requirements.

Last year, the firm’s chief executive officer Benson Xu said an explosion of infrastructural developments in Africa had ignited the appetite for steel products which his firm would be able to meet.

“The market is huge in Zimbabwe and even more in Africa where there is a boom of the construction and infrastructure development industry,” he said.

“As a company, we cannot satisfy the local demand. Even in regional markets, in China, our parent company requires millions of tonnes of steel and we cannot provide what it requires, so the market and demand are huge.”

The company plans to produce 20 million tonnes of carbon steel annually by the year 2030.

In the following three years, it said, its businesses in Zimbabwe would consume more than 500 megawatts, making them the country’s biggest power users.

Disco is one of the three subsidiaries of Tsingshan Holding Group Limited, which is the world’s largest stainless steel and nickel producer.

The corporation has production facilities in China, Indonesia, India, the United States and now Zimbabwe.

The business has constructed a 350 000 tonne per year coke factory in Hwange and a 150 000 tonne per year ferrochrome facility in Selous, Chegutu district.

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