By Business Reporter
DEFUNCT Zimbabwe integrated steel (Ziscosteel) works is going to be reopened in phases as it is going to assume a different investment structure altogether, Industry and Commerce Minister Michael Bimha has said.
Bimha conceded that discussions for the reopening of the parastatal which closed shop a decade ago have time to complete due to the magnitude of the project since a lot was involved.
He however said government was ready, “to start the implementation of the project.”
The minister said while officially commissioning the opening of ZimCoke, a coking company within Ziscosteel Friday, that government has taken a different approach to the reopening of steel giant.
“This is a different investment structure than before. This is evidenced by hiving off the Coke Ovens which are to be operated by ZimCoke. This gives us confidence that this time the project will be a success,” said Bimha.
Efforts to revive Ziscosteel with Essar hit a snag after bickering within Zimbabwe’s inclusive government before 2013.
Bimha further explained, “In addition, there are also other investors who are coming in to operationalise Lancashire Steel. This will mark the resuscitation of the Iron and Steel value chains in the country.”
Government according to Bimha has decided to resuscitate the parastal in phases.
“The first phase of the project will entail the production of 1 million tons of long products (bars and wide rods) per annum.
“The second phase will result in the production of 3 million tons per annum. In addition, the second phase will produce flat products which are end user oriented as well as special steel,” he said.
Government has projected that the reopening of Ziscosteel is set to see the 3000 people getting employed at the plant and 20 000 people in the downstream and upstream industries.
“Based on projected production capacity of 1 million tonnes per annum in the first phase, against domestic consumption of 500 000 metric tonnes, the economy will receive significant foreign currency from exported exports of steel products,” said Bimha.