Zimbabwe and China Collaborate on Africa’s Biggest Steel Plant in Mvuma

Spread the love

HARARE – Zimbabwe and China have teamed up to construct one of Africa’s largest steelworks, the US$1.5 billion Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) Manhize plant in Mvuma.

This joint venture involves Chinese expertise in steel plant construction and Zimbabwean labor, transforming a previously undeveloped area into a modern industrial hub.

The site, once a dense forest, is now bustling with activity as buildings, staff housing, warehouses, and other essential infrastructure take shape. This development marks a significant step forward, with the steel giant poised to begin production soon.

Owned by Disco, a subsidiary of China’s Tsingshan Holdings Group Limited, the Manhize Steel Plant is set to position Zimbabwe as a major player in global steel manufacturing. Projections indicate that the facility will generate significant revenue, potentially reaching US$4.25 billion by the project’s fourth phase.

The Disco group also operates Dinson Colliery in Hwange and a ferrochrome plant, Afrochine Smelting Limited, in Selous. The Manhize plant will produce a variety of steel products, including pipes, bolts, and nuts, further bolstering Zimbabwe’s industrial capabilities.

Since President Emmerson Mnangagwa officially launched the plant’s construction, over 1,500 employees from China and Zimbabwe have been collaborating to ensure the project’s success. This partnership is expected to generate substantial foreign currency for Zimbabwe and spur further infrastructural development, including a dedicated 1,000 km railway line, a dam, and an irrigation project to support the steel industry.

This infrastructure will facilitate efficient transportation of steel products for both local use and export through Mozambique. The collaboration has also fostered cultural exchange, with Mr. Michael Wang, administration manager at the Manhize Steel Plant, highlighting the project’s role as a model for China-Zimbabwe cooperation.

Mr. Wang, who has adopted the surname Moyo while working at the plant, praised the dedication of the Zimbabwean workforce, noting that local workers have become proficient in engineering through hands-on training provided by Chinese experts.

The project underscores the importance of skills development for youth empowerment, with young Zimbabweans gaining valuable experience in steel cutting and design. Scheduled for commissioning next month, the plant is expected to create significant employment opportunities, initially hiring 3,000 workers and potentially exceeding 10,000 in later stages.

In addition to the steel plant, Disco is set to ignite its power station before the end of the month and has ambitious plans for a “Smart City” named Manhize Town and a Science University. These developments will further enhance Zimbabwe’s industrial landscape.

The Manhize Steel Plant represents a significant shift for Zimbabwe, which previously relied heavily on steel imports, spending over US$400 million annually within the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region. By producing 600,000 metric tonnes of steel products annually, with plans to increase to 5 million tonnes, Zimbabwe is on track to become a powerhouse in the steel and iron industry.

This project exemplifies how international collaboration can drive economic development and industrial growth, paving the way for Zimbabwe’s goal of achieving an upper middle-income economy by 2030.