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Zimbabwe to speed up reopening of ZiscoSteel

The government of Zimbabwe has announced plans to speed up reopening of former industrial flagship Ziscosteel in time for the 2023 elections.

Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company is located just outside Kwekwe, in Redcliff, Kwekwe District. Over the years the company has faced many operational problems and corruption scandals. At its peak, the plant produced nearly 1 million tons of steel a year.

Challenges

The Company stopped operations in January 2008, following three successive power outages from the national grid coupled with cooling water challenges leading to the cooling down of Coke Oven batteries and subsequently the cooling down of the Blast Furnace.

Kuvimba Mining House Ltd., has been selected to revive one of the continent’s largest steel mills. The miner has been picked as the “investment partner”. It was wholly owned by the government of Zimbabwe, until in November 2010, it invited bidders for a 64% stake of the ZISCO group of companies mainly to reduce or liquidate two large debts totalling $340 million, including $240 million to a German bank. 54% of the company is now in the hands of Essar Africa Holdings Ltd (India-based). The government of Zimbabwe still holds 36% and a consortium of private investors holds 10%. Up to 3,000 jobs were saved.

The ZISCO group of companies include BIMCO, Lancashire Steel, Frontier Steel, ZISCO Distribution Centre. All these companies are 100% owned by ZISCO. It gets raw materials (such as iron ore) from Ripple Creek mine which is about 14 kilometers from ZISCO. Up to 70 million tonnes can be mined. Up to 200 million tonnes of limestone can be found on an open cast mine which is a few meters from ZISCO. Zimbabwe also has reserves of up to 22 billion tonnes of coal.

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