US$4m can revive Lancashire Steel: MP

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The following is an excerpt from Kwekwe Central MP Masango Matambanadzo’s address to the National Assembly on October 1 during the ongoing debate on the President’s speech. Matambanadzo was talking about the state of mining in Kwekwe:
I managed to hold a meeting with one of the companies with the biggest iron ore mines in the country called ZISCO Steel. As you all are aware, ZISCO Steel closed down just like Globe and Phoenix Mine and we have no steel. Yes we know, we had problems five years back but as of now, I think, we are in a position to rebuild our mines and development starts from Kwekwe.
Lancashire Steel is a subdivision of ZISCO Steel and since Lancashire Steel depends on ZISCO Steel – we cannot divorce the two. I had discussions with the management at Lancashire Steel and they told me of their plans.
My meeting with the management showed that they need subsistence in the development of the mine. I am glad to report that we were in agreement in most of the issues that we discussed. They informed us that the company can be independent from ZISCO Steel as ZISCO Steel is going to be run by Indians since they won the tender.
But, the Indians have not had time to implement their development policy ever since they won the tender. So, we do not know whether the Indians are going to develop ZISCO Steel but Lancashire Steel is saying that they are able to take the developments on their own.
In their report to me, they advised that all their equipment is in good order. Bolts, wire and roofing nails are all manufactured at Lancashire Steel. Talk of any wire product that we use in our farms such as fence, we find that they are manufactured at Lancashire Steel. They manufacture even the smallest wire such as the one which we use in our offices as staple pins, which shows that this company is a very important company in our country.
In the last five years, this was looked down upon as an inconsequential organisation. So many people lost their jobs as a result and some people died of hunger because they did not receive any salary. Some of these workers have died of starvation.
When I held my meetings with them, I realised that I have a great job to perform ahead as a Member of Parliament responsible for that area. This company, as I stated before, has enough equipment, all they want is to be given an amount of US$4m. This will be enough to resuscitate this organisation. You will find that they even told us that given this amount of money, they can work and do without the ZISCO Steel which is struggling and they will be able to meet the needs of the country.Advertisement

ZISCO Steel was supplying different kinds of iron and steel and they were selling it to Lancashire Steel. Lancashire Steel would then make out the required products by the industry and the people of Zimbabwe.  They are looking forward to receiving US$4.6m from the market after they have done their research and this could be increased depending on the value addition of the products.
We thank the President for such a speech because we have lots of equipment and merchandise. Let us work together with our President and resuscitate these machines and these organisations.
We have some workers who were retrenched who are still alive and 300 of these workers have gone for 36 months without receiving any salary. I have, as an individual, sourced for foodstuffs for these people and I cannot sustain them alone. Therefore, we need to resuscitate this institution so that these people can receive their salaries and live a normal day. We also need to look at other ways of assisting this institution.
We also have another company in Kwekwe which is called Steelmaker. It is owned by Indians. This company is benefiting millions and millions of profit through its works. What they are telling us about how this company is benefiting is that it is into buying scrap metal and melting it and manufacturing the iron and steel products such as angle lines, beams and window frames. They manufacture these from the scrap metal and they get their orders from ZESA.
During my discussions with them, I talked to them about the iron and steel and they said they could resuscitate the blast furnaces which are used in the manufacture of steel. Like I promised you before, in the near future, I will give you full details on the resuscitation of these blast furnaces but the price quoted is not more than US$2.5m.
During our meeting, we agreed that if you are buying a tonne of billets from Turkey – they said they buy it for US$500 – a we also buy the scrap metal for US$100, so the total amount of money used is US$600. What that means is that through using this Steelmaker Company, we will be able to assist in the resuscitation of ZISCO Steel. They also told me that after they have made a profit of US$4.5m, Government will also benefit 15% from that money.
In that manner, we will receive enough finances to pay for the salaries of civil servants. I plead with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, together with government, to give me enough support in the resuscitation of these institutions because I know that if we work together, especially in this time whereby we have no problems, we may have development in our country and constituency.