State-owned Kuvimba Mining House (Kuvimba) is banking on its mining proceeds to revive the defunct steelmaker, Ziscosteel.
Ziscosteel, once a leading steel manufacturer, has been idle for over over a decade with its demise attributed to the pressures of Zimbabwe’s shattered economy, gross mismanagement and corruption.
Kuvimba, in a statement, said it was turning the situation around adding that all legal processes have been completed.
Operations are expected to commence soon.
“The satisfaction of all legal conditions’ precedent paves way for Kuvimba to kick start the processes to fund the revival of ZISCO,” reads the statement.
“The state-owned miner has gained a reputation for successfully resuscitating mothballed companies, among them Jena Gold Mine in Midlands Province and Shamva Gold Mines in Mashonaland Central Province, a process which has resulted in the remittance of dividends to the Treasury.
“Indeed, Kuvimba’s ZISCO revival strategy hinges, in part, on generating cash from mining operations and investing the proceeds to modernise and rebuild the steelworks. This strategy is widely accepted by experts to be the most realistic way to timely revive the giant steelworks,” read the statement.
ZISCO Chairman, Engineer Martin Manuhwa, said Kuvimba has deployed critical resources towards the dream.
“Over the first 90 days of the contract, we have seen Kuvimba deploying critical resources such as international consultants and legal practitioners to enable a smooth management transition.”
“We now expect Kuvimba to catalyse the investment process with up to US$300 million capital injection in debt instruments, while over US$1 billion is expected to be generated organically from the commercialisation of mining activities.
“This is a new approach, as previously mining was only a captive source of iron ore for the steelworks.”
According to Manhuwa, Kuvimba has already shortlisted a global contractor to lead the technical appraisal for the steelworks.
Engineers from German and Italy are expected on the ground to lead the technical assessment of the plant.
“This is a crucial part of the revival process as it will enable Kuvimba to comprehend the technical viability of the existing works and to estimate the true size of investment that will be required to rebuild the plant,” Manuhwa said.
Kuvimba Chief Executive Officer, Simba Chinyemba, said the revival of Ziscosteel is critical for the country’s development.
“ZISCO is an important national asset and our goal is to see the company flourish to surpass yester-year production levels while creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs for local communities,” he said.
“We are planning to essentially create two self-sustaining businesses and as part of the strategy, we shall create a resource company by commercialising ZISCO’s mining operations and more importantly, a standalone steelmaking company with captive supply from the newly created resource company.”
Government contends that Ziscosteel closure saw the country losing US$1 billion in steel imports.