'New Zisco plant will be cheaper'

'New Zisco plant will be cheaper'
Published: 24 May 2018
GOVERNMENT should facilitate that Zisco investors set up a new plant which will be cheaper than resuscitating old furnaces, Mines and Energy Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chairperson, Mr Temba Mliswa, has said.

Speaking at the recent Chamber of Mines annual general meeting and conference here, he said starting a new plant will be way cheaper than chasing investors to resuscitate the old plant, which requires about $1 billion.

Mr Mliswa said investors have been dragging their feet on the Zisco project over the years hence prejudicing the country and the economy.

He said the country has as a result lost the foreign market for steel products, which it used to enjoy before the demise of the giant steel producer.

"Given the time the plant has not been operating, it does not make sense to resuscitate the old plant but to replace it with a new plant."

He advised the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to consider starting a new plant targeting the local market, which will in turn develop the economy.

"It is important that we move on with what is expected and create a new Zisco, which will be for local consumption.

"Zisco has not been there for a long time and other players have emerged hence we can't reclaim our share of the international market immediately," he said.

Mr Mliswa said countries like China and Canada had taken over the world market for steel products and  Zimbabwe should now concentrate on producing for the local market, which desperately needs to be revived.

He said Zisco was a critical parastatal whose revival will breathe life into other state entities such as NRZ, Hwange Colliery and others as well as provide employment to thousands of workers.

Mr Mliswa said starting a new local plant requires about 30 percent of what is needed to revive the Redcliff based firm.

Government has been in negotiations with investors towards a $1 billion deal to resuscitate the parastatal.

Recently, Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Minister Dr Mike Bimha said Government had given Zisco a national project status so it can be exempt from a number of regulations that may stifle its revival.

Mr Mliswa said there was enough iron ore in the country that can sustain a new  steel plant.

"Zimbabwe market consumes 250 tonnes of steel and blast furnace number three can do that. Our challenge now is that in terms of export it is the buyer who will determine the price, which simply means that there is no point for us to think of exporting steel," he said.

"We must now be able to say in the meantime probably what is critical is to create a local market and if at all there is a need to export, it will be considered later," he said.
- chronicle
Tags: Zisco,


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