The Sunday News
Afrochine Smelting – a subsidiary of the world’s largest stainless steel producer Tsingshan Holdings – has secured US$1 billion needed for the first phase of the project to establish a steel plant in Chivhu and is already setting up infrastructure at the site.
President Mnangagwa is expected to commission the project, which will stretch over areas such as Chivhu, Mvuma and Chirumanzu, in December.
About 14 000 jobs will be created, of which 4 000 employees would be engaged directly, while 10 000 jobs will be generated from downstream and upstream opportunities.
A new town is also expected to rise from the investment. Afrochine Smelting managing director Mr Benson Xu confirmed to our Harare Bureau that funding for the project is already available.
“We already have funds enough to see the setting up of the project, and you may have heard the figure of US$1 billion. That is for the first phase, and we are ready to increase the investment in the following five years.
“We are ready for the ground-breaking ceremony in the next couple of months and weeks, and the commissioning will take place in December 2022.”
The company is setting up preliminary infrastructure such as administration facilities and staff quarters, including facilitating the provision of critical services such as electricity and telecommunications by the relevant authorities.
“The envisaged economic activities will be a boon for surrounding communities.
“This is a project that will involve three different sites in three different provinces, namely Mashonaland East, Midlands and Mashonaland West.
“This will see mining take place at Chivhu/Manhize areas; mining and beneficiation at Mvuma as well as the steel plant being established in Chirumhanzu.
“Whereupon, we established a ferrochrome plant at Selous, a cokebattery at Hwange and the steel plant forms the third leg of the investment.”
Mvuma Rural District Council has already announced plans for a new town that will have up to 15 000 residents.
A number of amenities are being planned on the strength of the new investment. Overall, the economic activities that would be generated would positively impact on Government’s economic growth plan, which is guided by the five-year National Development Strategy 1.
The steel plant is one of the many investments that President Mnangagwa successfully negotiated during his visit to China in 2018.
A Memorandum of Understanding was subsequently signed with Tsingshan.