Chinese steel giant Disco granted mining lease

Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando
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HARARE – The Zimbabwean government has granted an open-ended iron ore mining lease to Chinese firm Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco), which is developing a $1.5 billion steel plant in Manhize near Mvuma.

Disco, a subsidiary of China’s Tsingshan Holdings Group Limited, has been given a 12,270-hectare mining lease for the establishment of the steel plant, which is touted as Africa’s largest integrated steel manufacturing facility. The project involves the development of a new town in Manhize and is expected to have a significant impact on Zimbabwe’s economy.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando commended Dinson for its investment in the project, noting that the company began investing millions of dollars even before receiving the mining lease.

The minister highlighted that the steel project aligns with the government’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1) and its goal of transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030. NDS 1 is a five-year economic blueprint running from 2021 to 2025.

Disco’s first blast furnace is expected to be operational by November this year, and the steel plant, when running at full capacity, will produce 1.2 million tonnes of carbon steel annually. The project will contribute to job creation and infrastructural development, including the establishment of a new town in Manhize.

The government has approved a master plan for the development of the new town, which is expected to accommodate 30,000 residents and attract interest from industrialists, banks, and service providers.

Disco’s managing director, Mr. Benson Xu, expressed gratitude to the government for its support and stated that the handover of the mining lease boosts their confidence in the steel project. Despite some delays caused by heavy rains during the previous rainy season, construction is progressing, and the company aims to commission the blast furnaces by the end of this year.

The steel plant will be powered by two substations and a 330KV transmission line stretching 100 kilometers from Sherwood in Kwekwe.