The Zimbabwe government is working with a Chinese investor to open a new steel mine which is three times bigger than Ziscosteel and will produce 1.2 million tonnes of steel per year.
The Mine, situated in Chivhu at Mwanhize, will be running in the next 10 months and will produce steel at an average USD400 to USD 700 per tonne, which is much cheaper when compared to the production costs in China (USD900 and South Africa (USD 1.300- USD 1.800).
This was revealed by the newly appointed Zanu PF Secretary for Information and War veterans’ leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa at a Black Empowerment Conference hosted by the Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking (ZIST) in Harare Monday.
“We are building a steel plant which will be in production next year December. Zimbabwe will be producing steel; 1.2 million tonnes as a starter, three times bigger than Zisco in Chivhu at Mwanhize. We have unproven 100 billion tonnes and proven 30 billion tonnes of iron ore. So the company comes to Zimbabwe and says this is the place where we can make steel the cheapest. China makes it at USD900, South Arica USD1.300 to USD1.800 per tonne. Zimbabwe is producing at USD400 to USD 700 per tonne, nobody will beat us in the whole world,” he said.
Mutsvangwa said the company is expected to increase production to between 5 million tonnes and 10 million tonnes in the next ten years, adding it was now sitting on number 278 globally in terms of steel production
He is already number 278 globally from 361 in 2019 to 329 in 2020 and to number 278 this year. This man is not stopping, the one with the company. He controls nickel prices on the global market. He supplies all the major battery makers, Samsung, LG, Cannon, Panasonic, TATL everybody who is making car batteries. He is a major supplier of nickel so he sits astride two industries of the future and that company is in Zimbabwe,” he said
He said the country was on a massive resources investment drive riding on the quality of its resources which were attracting renowned investors.
“As I speak to you now we are attracting the top 500 companies of the world into Zimbabwe. How does a little country in the middle of Africa, landlocked with 14 million people attract companies of that scale; because your resources are good. Mention any aspect of mineral and we are in the top three or four or five, you can’t believe we are on number 5 in terms of lithium globally. The bomb which America made in 1953 for the hydrogen bomb the lithium came from Bikita but they never mentioned it, it’s true and that is Zimbabwe for you. We are in the game,” he said.
Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe was poised to be among the top exporters of minerals used in the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries.
“Now in Buhera there is lithium; 150 metres thick and if you are not in the electric vehicle business as a car company you are bust . Look at Tesla, that guy from South Africa he is manufacturing Toyota BT beating everybody. So what Kuwait is, what UAE is in terms of the energy of the cars for the future is what Zimbabwe will be, this is exciting because the cars will be driven by electric energy and we have so much Lithium.
“And do you know the trucks coming from DRC and Zambia what they are carrying; they are carrying copper and cobalt. These batteries are made of three minerals; cobalt, nickel and lithium. Sixty per cent of the cobalt comes from the DRC and it passes through Zimbabwe on the way to Mozambique and Lithium is in Zimbabwe.
“You see you can come and put a factory in Zimbabwe and you build factories in Zimbabwe with cobalt from DRC. So we are getting 500 companies doing that and one of them sits astride two major industries which are crucial to Zimbabwe. One is steel the other one is Nickel, lithium and cobalt, the same company, it’s called Shinshan. They are the ones at Selous mining Ferro chrome,” he said
The government is also working towards the resuscitation of Ziscosteel in Redcliff, which at one time was Africa’s largest integrated still works producing one million tonnes per annum at its peak and employing more than 8000 people.
The company exported to Europe, Asia and neighbouring African countries before it collapsed in 2008 at the height of the country’s economic crisis.
The opening of the new steel company and the revival of Ziscosteel will position Zimbabwe as one the biggest steel producers not only in the region but globally and will play a significant role in the country’s quest to achieve an upper middle class economy by 2030.