By Alois Vinga
KUVIMBA Mining House will inject US$1 million into ZISCO’s resuscitation strategy mainstreamed under the Mining Project and Steel Project in a development that is set to unlock opportunities for several businesses in the value chain.
The Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) was the largest steel works in Zimbabwe employing about 5,500 people in the 1990s while around 50,000 people were indirectly employed by the company before plunging into viability problems related to corporate governance deficiencies.
Since then, the company has struggled to find a meaningful suitor partly due to negative perceptions affecting the local economy until last year when Kuvimba expressed interest in the concern.
In March 2022, Cabinet approved Kuvimba as a strategic investment partner for the ZISCO STEEL plant in Redcliff, Kwekwe prompting the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Kuvimba and ZISCO Steel on 12 August, 2022.
This week, Industry and Commerce Minister, Sekai Nzenza, revealed the progress made so far in the project.
“Kuvimba will initially invest US$1 million into the steelmaking plant in a phased approach which will see the process commencing with the sale of five million tonnes of the iron ore fines stockpiles at Buchwa Mine in Mberengwa District of Midlands Province.
“The miner will work in partnership with the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) in the refurbishment of the existing Buchwa-Maputo rail line,” she said.
The Industry Minister said NRZ will earn revenue from the use of the line and provision of goods train services to ZISCO and underscored that preliminary works which include feasibility, market studies, engineering and process designs have since kicked off.
The technical appraisal of the steelworks plant will be conducted by SMS Group, a German-based steel equipment manufacturer, while the market studies, engineering/process designs will culminate in a bankable feasibility study and business plan.
“Kuvimba Mining House will raise US$300 million for ZISCO Steel through local sales of iron ore. Strategen Company has been engaged by Kuvimba as the lead consultancy to drive the resuscitation of ZISCO Steel,” said Nzenza.