$12 million steel plant commissioned

HARARE - Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha on Monday commissioned a $12 million steel reinforcement bars plant expected to create employment for 450 people.

Steel Brands in New Ardbennie Industrial Area produces high quality certified reinforcement steel bars which are currently being imported by the construction industry from South Africa and China.

“Steel Brands invested $12 million to acquire this plant and the investment has a capacity to employ up to 450 people.

The investment by Steel Brands is an important import substitution venture which converts this once heavily exported scrap steel into steel billets which are further processed into Nexus Branded Certified Reinforcing Steel Bars,” Bimha said.

The company uses scrap as its raw material in the production of the steel reinforcement bar.

Companies in the iron and steel industry have been forced to scale down operations due to the shortage of scrap metal on the market.

Foundries were eight years ago forced to use scrap metal as an alternative following the closure in 2008 of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel), which provided raw materials for the companies.

“Following the industrial and economic decline that this economy has experienced, the environment became littered with dilapidated steel structures which led to environmental contamination by scrap throughout the country.

“Our small to medium enterprises in Zimbabwe started gathering this scrap steel and exported it to countries like South Africa, China and Vietnam where the scrap steel was processed into certified steel bars and re-exported back into the country,” said Bimha.

Last year, government set up a technical committee to investigate allegations by residents in Houghton Park that the company Steel Brands was emitting hazardous smoke affecting the residential area under the supervision of the committee comprising Environmental Management Agency, The National Social Security Authority and the City of Harare, to oversee the test runs of the plant.

“After meeting all the conditions set, Steel Brands was certified and given the green light to commence production on October 15, 2017. I would like therefore to urge industry to carry out their manufacturing activities in a sustainable and responsible manner, that is, without compromising the health and welfare of the people in the communities in which they are operating,” he added.

— The Financial Gazette

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