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Boost for construction sector: Steel starts rolling out of Manhize plant

THE US$1,5 billion steel plant in Manhize is set to commence actual production in the next two weeks after test runs conducted this week flawlessly produced pig iron.

Touted as Africa’s largest integrated steel manufacturing plant, it was constructed by Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Dinson) — one of the three local subsidiaries of China’s leading stainless steel producer, Tsingshan Group Holdings Limited.

Trial runs on the steel plant have been conducted on the thermal power station, blast furnace, limestone processing plant and the oxygen plant which have all proved to be functioning well.
In an interview on Thursday, Dinson projects director, Wilfred Motsi said: “We have not started actual production, but we are conducting test runs where we have successfully produced pig iron.

“No technical glitches have been encountered yet as all the machinery and equipment at the plant are working well with no faults like leaks. Therefore, actual production at the steel plant is set to begin in two weeks’ time.”

The coming on board of the steelworks positions Zimbabwe as a steel manufacturing giant, expanding the mining industry as well as creating thousands of jobs directly and indirectly.

Before the closure of once Zimbabwe’s largest integrated steel plant north of Limpopo, Zisco in 2008, local industry accessed raw materials at a relatively cheaper cost unlike at the present moment where millions of foreign currency are being spent importing steel and related products.

At its peak in the 1990s, Zisco produced over one million tonnes of steel per annum employing more than 5 000 people directly.

So far, the Dinson steel plant has created 1 700 jobs with most of the people being the locals around Manhize as well as citizens from Mashonaland East and Midlands provinces where the project is situated.

Dinson is projected to produce 600 000 tonnes of products in the first phase, rising to 1,2 million tonnes in the second phase.

In the early stages of production, Dinson intends to produce pig iron, followed by steel billets and steel bars before the end of the year.

Production is anticipated to rise to 3,2 million tonnes in the third phase and subsequently to five million tonnes annually in the final phase with at least 500MW required to power the plant that will supply a wide range of steel products to the local market while employing over 10 000 people directly.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Institute of Foundries (ZIF) chief operating officer Mr Dosman Mangisi has revealed that they were already warming up for Dinson’s first steel production.

“The commencement of operations at the steel plant will definitely yield a major impact and change to the local industry, which at the moment is grappling with shortage of raw materials and the knock-on effect has depressed production by companies in engineering, iron and steel sector including foundries.

“A proclamation has already been made that the Manhize steel plant constriction in terms of the blast furnace is complete and as players in the foundry sector we are geared to tap into the opportunities presented by the operationalisation of that plant.

“Commencement of production at the Dinson’s steel plant will see all sectors particularly those in engineering, iron and steel industry improving their production levels as raw materials will be easily accessible and competitively — unlike the current scenario where most of our players are importing,” he is on record saying.


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