DEPUTY industry and commerce minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa told legislators Wednesday that ZISCO STEEL was now 80 percent prepared to start operations.
The company is now expected to reopen in less than four months ending a four year US$750 million negotiation.
ESSAR, a global steel player, had committed to revive the plant to its original capacity and spelt out a long-term vision to double capacity to 2,5 million tonnes a year.
Mberengwa East MP, Makhosini Hlongwane (Zanu PF) asked the deputy minister to give an update on developments at the Redcliff-based company.
“Where is Ziscosteel? What is happening to that operation given the perspective of the signed off investment by ESSAR of India?”, Hlongwane asked.
Mabuwa said the refurbishing of the equipment was already underway including the introduction of modern technologies.
“They are now working on resuscitating the infrastructure which had crumbled because of neglect and passage of time.
“When you talk of percentages, we can say they have had 80% of progress in opening up this mine and this has been done through the repair of the infrastructure.”
Mabuwa said as part of the deal the new owners are going to take up all the problems.
“Last Friday, the ESSAR people were in this country confirming that they want to open up and implement the ESSAR deal. This is a sign that the economy of the country is going out of the doldrums and the economy will grow,” Mabuwa told legislators.
She said ESSAR has put a plan that will, within three months, see one of the sub-contracted companies, Lancashire Steel start to manufacture steel.
“It will also manufacture the different varieties of steel which are needed in the country and the industry. We start by buying some of the equipment and accessories from South Africa. We will also be buying accessories from India,” she said.
Mabuwa the company would also look at the welfare of workers because they have not been paid for some time.
“We also have bills owed to stakeholders which used to supply ZISCO because as a country, we need to pay up what we owe to the stakeholders,” Mabuwa said.
The revival of Zisco will bring relief to over 3,000 workers who have gone for a year without salaries after the Essar Group suspended payments in March last year.Advertisement
Essar, a company incorporated in Mauritius, emerged as the preferred bidder for Zisco and the iron ore resources that it owned after beating 14 investors.