The Zimbabwe is Open for Business drive is bearing fruit, with the commissioning of a US$400 million Zimcoke plant in Kwekwe as well as Jinan Chrome Mine’s 5th ferro alloy furnace, all in the Midlands province.
The two products are set to create employment and earn the much-needed foreign currency for the country in line with the country’s vision of attaining an upper middle income economy by 2030.
The Zimcoke project comes as efforts to revive the ZISCO Steel are on course with negotiations underway for a debt and swap deal between an investor and a Germany bank to offset the US$225 million debt accrued by the steel giant.
Officially commissioning the Zimcoke plant this Thursday, The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Cde Mangaliso Ndlovu said the project will bring industrial revival to the Midlands Province.
“At last the deal has been sealed. The project has been going on for three years and it includes full reticulation of water at Redcliff and the elimination of all speed restrictions on all rail lines, among other things,” he said.
Zimcoke co-directors concurred that the province is poised for economic growth, with long laid ZISCO Steel workers set to be re-engaged.
Midlands Minister of State, Cde Larry Mavima said the commissioning of Zimcoke, an engine for ZISCO Steel revival, will bring renewed hope for the local community and contribute to the provincial gross domestic product.
“We are of the view the plant will contribute to our GDP under devolution,” he said.
Zimcoke is set to produce 400 million tonnes of coke per annum for the regional market, while 800 tonnes will be supplied to the local market.
More than 1000 jobs are set to be created, while some will come from associated companies like ZimChem.
The project is billed to enhance the resuscitation of the country’s railway system by providing rolling stocks.
Meanwhile, the commissioning of Jinan Chrome Mine’s 5th ferro alloy furnace, this comes as the second republic has been pushing mining companies to process minerals locally under the value addition and beneficiation strategy.
Jinan Chrome Mining Company in Gweru has set the ball rolling by commissioning a fifth alloy furnace.
Guest speaker at the commissioning, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Cde Raj Modi challenged other mining companies to follow suit to ensure maximum beneficiation of local resources.
“As government, we are glad the mining company has heeded government’s position on beneficiation,” he said.
Cde Mavhima, who also attended the commissioning, invited investors to the province, saying it is open for business particularly for value addition and beneficiation.
“We are endowed with vast minerals. Investors are welcome for us to achieve value addition and beneficiation,” he said.
The company’s Managing Director, Mr David Zhou said they are positioning themselves to effectively contribute towards the attainment of the second republic’s vision 2030.
“As a top ferrochrome producer in Zimbabwe we are going the value addition way to create employment.
Jinan has increased its ferrochrome production from 496 tonnes in 2016 to 32 421 tonnes in 2018.
The newly commissioned furnace will produce 745 jobs, with the chrome mining company is also involved in further chrome refining.