Ziscosteel reopening deferred

HARARE - The re-opening of NewZim Steel — formerly Ziscosteel — has been postponed due to extensive refurbishments taking place at the plant, Industry minister Mike Bimha has said.

Bimha, who could not give specific dates for the revival of the steel giant — which has been dormant for nearly a decade — said “government is working around-the-clock to ensure that the company roars back to life.”

He said although there had been promises that the Kwekwe-based firm would be up and running by last December, the plant’s deteriorating conditions due to years of inactivity, hampered progress.

“There is need to carry out reconstruction of plants and also repair the blast furnaces.

“There is going to be a lot of construction and this will take some time,” he said.

According to sources close to the development, Essar is currently repairing and refurbishing key technology units such as the coke oven, the sinter plant, the steel-making plant, rolling mills and lime plant as well as installing a new blast furnace while a new captive plant and oxygen plant would also be installed.

In March 2011, government sealed a $750 million deal with Essar that resulted in Ziscosteel being unbundled into two companies, NewZim Steel and NewZim Minerals.

The deal gave Essar 54 percent control of the new company NewZim Steel.

As part of the deal, Essar was also awarded 80 percent ownership of NewZim Minerals, with the government holding the remaining 20 percent.

But the deal has taken far too long to complete notwithstanding a Cabinet resolution to revive the plant, which has pushed over 3 000 workers out of employment.

Ziscosteel, a major foreign currency earner before independence in 1980, stopped operations in 2008 at the height of an economic crisis, due to lack of capital to re-equip its plants.

Prior to the takeover, government held about 70 percent in Ziscosteel — once the largest integrated steelworks in the region.

Yet steel prices are high on the international markets, and this company, which has found a suitor to pump in working capital, is also sitting atop one of the richest and consistently steel producing veins in the world.

Things at NewZim Steel are getting badly out of hand, with hundreds of angry workers alleging that their families were going hungry and plagued by disease.

NewZim Steel’s rescue has been delayed due to squabbles in government during the inclusive era, amid reports that Welshman Ncube and Obert Mpofu were differing on the sale off of mining claims.

Comments (10)

According to sources close to the development, Essar is currently repairing and refurbishing key technology units such as the coke oven, the sinter plant, the steel-making plant, rolling mills and lime plant as well as installing a new blast furnace while a new captive plant and oxygen plant would also be installed." ZVIRIKUITIKA KUPI IZVOZVI KANA KUTI CHINGEZI CHANDIRASISA

Timothy Thorton - 13 February 2014

i think people should just keep quiet if they dont have anything to say .how can the minister say there are repairs going on at zisco when there is nothing at all.instead people are wallowing in poverty and all hope is gone.nothing is going on contrary to the report.the zisco issue should be a cause for concern.

Progress ureke - 13 February 2014

Mike Bimha, ibhima zveshuwa. This is not the first time he has spewed shit from his filth filled proboscis. Sometime not long ago , he intimated that Zimglass was bound for revival and just recently it comletely shut its doors, rendering a whole workforce jobless. Now, he is on a new mission to insult the intelliigence of all Redcliff and Torwood residence by parroting non existent development at Zisco Doesnt this drivel qualify for a crime whose commission should end one in prison, for I honestly think this is economic espionage, qualifying this junk of a minister in the same class as Cashbert Dube, Muchechetere and their rabid ilk. This idiot is one of the biggest sanctions this country has ever had.

Topheavy - 13 February 2014

Reporter come to Redcliff and verify what this liar is talking about.Hakuna kana bolt one ririkuchinjwa

Tabeth - 14 February 2014

A seriously unresearched peace of Journalism. To report that work is going on at Zisco Is the same as reporting that NRZ has unveiled speed trains for the Bulawayo to Cairo route, a pie in the sky. I respect the DAILY NEWS for that balanced reporting but on this one i think you are being used to do some Public Relations for this incapable Minister. Is it any wonder that you are the only ones who carried this story. Mr John Kachembere and The Daily News i believe you can do better, this is TRASH.

MAPANCHO - 14 February 2014

inhema, I stay ku Redcliff, I work ku Zisco. hakuna kana chiriko. Bimha why are you lying. give evidence

JOE - 14 February 2014

This is a disappointing piece of journalism. I am always at the Zisco plant and there is nothing happening. The Essar guys actually went back to India last year and no work is happening. This is just an article to sell your newspaper and is an insult to Zisco employees. Poorly researched, how can we then trust that you are "telling it like it is"?

Poorly researched - 14 February 2014

Someone suggested taking this minister to the constitutional court for playing football with people's emotions, for misinforming the country. One wonders the kind of advice a minister with such inferior integrity gives to the president... Its really a shameful thing and mind boggling.

Scooter Tembo - 14 February 2014

I have been following up on events at ZISCO and from comments here Mr. Editor this is a very poorly researched article. This is the reason why papers get sued as some of your journalists are driven by zeal and not facts. Why did it not get into your mind why state newspapers did not report on project of national interest like ZISCO? With the kind of suffering that the employees at ZISCO are going through, honestly this is not fair reporting Mr. Editor. Get your facts right.

kudakwashe - 15 February 2014

Please let the minister come to kwekwe to eye witness the re-refurbishments he is talking about. May these works are being done in India. I am resident of Kwekwe. Mr Bimha please stop to get reports from ever is giving those fictious reports. The Zisco issue has something to do with people's lives. I wonder if you people have got conscience. Is this Nation a Socialist ? What excactly did we fought for? Please Mr Bimha, Can you arrange a meeting with the grass roots people in Kwekwe Redcliff .

CHATIKOBO - 20 February 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.