The resuscitation of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCOsteel) is still alive and kicking but it is a massive project where the investor wants to make sure that everything is in place before they start operations, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha told the Senate yesterday.
He said the deal had been signed but the investor was currently trying to make sure that there adequate supplies of coking coal and was therefore carrying out its own prospecting.
The investor was only going to use 20 percent of the equipment at the plant as 80 percent was junk which has to be replaced with new equipment.
Full debate below:
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: I would like to thank the Minister for turning up because other Ministers are moving around because there is some political business which they are taking up in other areas.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Cabinet is sitting today hence the Hon. Minister is here by a special permission because he has a motion which must be done today.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you very much. My question to the Minister is on ZISCO Steel. We were informed that it had once come to a point of reopening but suddenly there is no longer talk about it, what is the progress to date?
*THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. DR. BIMHA): We need to understand what the ZISCO Steel progress is all about. When we talk of ZISCO, it is a very big investment and it involves a lot of things. During the negotiations we have taken up the entire facets, the first one regards the mining of the ore; we have to hold discussions with the Minister of Mines. The other facet is that we have to talk about electricity-power which is needed for the operation of ZESA, hence we need to have a meeting with the Minister of Energy.
When we talk about ZISCO, we also talk about water and transport, these for we need to have talks with the responsible Ministries and they really take time because you tackle each item at a time. We signed an agreement which was in broad terms outlining what we wanted to do and also the budget for the ZISCO steel re-opening and again the process to be followed. After signing that agreement we then agreed that the investors would come and hold meetings with different departments which are responsible for the operations.
Basically, we definitely signed an agreement and we have an investor who is prepared to take up this project. The first part is that he is going to start with the long products and these are the products which were being manufactured by ZISCO in the past. There is going to be a second phase whereby they are going to manufacture what are called flat products. This is going to look like zinc protecting that which is inside the equipment.
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