US$1,5 billion Dinson Mine commences operations April

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The first phase of the new giant steelworks at Manhize, the result of a US$1,5 billion investment by Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) taking advantage of the Second Republic’s investment climate, is scheduled to start operations in April.

The opening moves Zimbabwe into position as a steel manufacturing giant, expanding the mining industry as all raw materials are mined locally, the iron ore very close to Manhize, and creating thousands of new jobs at the expanding steelworks and in downstream heavy industry with Zimbabwean industrialists tapping local steel.

Barely a few years ago, Zimbabwe had a US$2 billion a year mining industry but now it is surpassing its initial US$12 billion target through opening of new mines with Disco joining the lithium and platinum sectors and the expanding mines in other sectors.

Also, under the Second Republic, old mines which had shut, are being reopened, giving impetus to the attainment of an empowered upper-middle income economy by 2030.

Barely two years ago, President Mnangagwa performed a ground breaking ceremony at Disco, but as of last Friday the plant stood at 95 percent ready for commissioning.

A subsidiary of Chinese iron and steel giant Tsingshan Holdings, the Disco plant started taking shape in June 2022, when preliminary works started on the site.

Disco is projected to produce 600 000 tonnes of products in the first phase, rising to 1,2 million tonnes in the second phase. It will then rise to 3,2 million tonnes in the third phase and ultimately 5 million tonnes per year in the final phase, supplying a full range of steel products to Zimbabwean industry. It will earn the country millions of dollars in exports as it becomes a major regional supplier and takes advantage of being located inside the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

Products that the company will eventually produce include pipes, billets, bolts and nuts, smaller slags, rolled tubes, fences, shafts, wires and bars among others.

Disco projects manager Mr Wilfred Motsi said they are now at 95 percent towards commissioning the first phase.

“By the end of the first quarter we will be starting our first production which is pig iron and then in the second quarter in October we will start production of steel billets. We will then be commissioning the whole of phase one, where we will be producing steel bars. So, in terms of completion, we are almost there. We are 95 percent in terms of completion of the plant,” he said.

The company expects to produce pig iron by the end of April, followed by steel billets in May and steel bars in October.

Net revenues are expected to be US$10 million during the first phase and will rise to US$4,25 billion under phase four of production. In terms of employment, Disco expects to directly employ 3 000 workers in the first phase with the figure expected to rise to over 10 000 in the fourth phase of production.

Dinson Holding Zimbabwe chairman Mr Chen Shangsong told business leaders and journalists last Friday that they are honoured to be investing in the country, where the Government is open for business.

“The Government has a vision of open for business and we are honoured to be pioneers of that journey. We cannot talk of Vision 2030 without talking of industrialisation. We are so glad and believe that through interaction and discussion, we have a lot of opportunity to grow.”

Mr Chen praised the harmonious relations the company has with the local people and its leadership, which includes traditional leaders.

“This place is sacred and I want to thank the traditional leadership for their full support. In less than two years look at what we have achieved and we will continue to grow as we are committed to making this country the largest steel production base in Africa,” he said.

Industry and Commerce Minister Sithembiso Nyoni led chief executive officers from mining companies, foundries, banks and the media to see first-hand the blast furnace superstructure almost complete among other superstructures at the plant.

Minister Nyoni said the plant represents a significant milestone for the nation’s industrial development and the entire iron and steel value chain.

“This state-of-the-art facility is not only capable of producing high-quality steel products, but it is also poised to have a profound impact on our economy. The establishment of the plant signifies our commitment to strengthening the iron and steel value chain within Zimbabwe,” she said.

The minister said the plant will play a pivotal role in enhancing the production of iron ore, its processing into steel and the subsequent manufacturing of various steel products.

“By integrating these stages of the value chain, we are fostering a more self-reliant and sustainable steel industry. The impact of the plant on the economy cannot be overstated.

“The growth and development of the steel industry has a multiplier effect on other sectors, such as construction, infrastructure development and manufacturing,” she said.

Minister Nyoni said the availability of high-quality steel products locally will reduce the country’s reliance on imports, thereby saving foreign currency and boosting the balance of trade.

She said the plant will generate employment opportunities for the people, while as it expands and reaches its full production capacity, it will create a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the entire value chain.

“This not only improves the livelihoods of individuals and families but also contributes to poverty reduction and economic empowerment. In addition to its economic impact, the plant also underscores our commitment to sustainable development and environmental stewardship.

“The plant incorporates the latest technologies and practices that prioritises energy efficiency, waste reduction and emissions control,” said Minister Nyoni.

She said as the nation continues to work towards achieving industrialisation goals, it is crucial to embrace technological advancements, prioritise skills development, and foster a culture of innovation.

“We are committed to supporting initiatives that promote research and development, as well as collaboration between academia, industry, and Government.

“I, therefore, encourage you to seize this opportunity to establish downstream industries that can leverage the benefits of the plant and create a thriving ecosystem of complementary businesses and industries,” said Minister Nyoni. – Hreald