Zimbabwe is poised to become Africa’s largest steel producer

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Zimbabwe is poised to become Africa’s largest steel producer and one of the biggest steel players in the world. A multi-billion steel plant is being constructed in Manhize, central Zimbabwe, that has the potential to meet all of the country’s requirements plus that of most countries in Africa and beyond.

Dinson Iron and Steel Company, a subsidiary of the Chinese steel producer Tsingshan Holdings is constructing Africa’s largest integrated steel-manufacturing plant In Zimbabwe with the potential to produce 1.2 million tons of iron and steel per annum when at full throttle.

The plant is estimated to cost US$1,5 billion upon completion of the first phase.

The demand for iron and steel is growing rapidly across the African continent. In 2021 African countries imported US$18 billion worth of iron and steel, up from US$15 billion in 2017.

Zimbabwe now wants to reclaim its lost share of this huge market by constructing a new plant that is expected to produce 600 000 tons of carbon steel per annum at the completion of the first phase by October next year.

“Our target is commissioning the first phase in October 2023. We could produce 600 thousand tons of carbon steel per annum creating more than 500 direct jobs bringing the opportunities downstream and upstream. Transforming Zimbabwe from a steel importer to an exporter, making forex and contributing to the 12 billion dollar mining industry by 2030,” says Chen Shang Song.

Dinson Group has other investments in the country which include coal-to-coke processing in the Hwange, which will feed into the steel project and limestone mining operations in Masvingo.

“In Zimbabwe, we are building the mining value addition park. Since 2012 we have successfully built the ferrochrome smelting plant in mash west, the coke plant in Matabeleland north and build the park in the Midlands. So far, we have invested 500 million US dollars, our total investment is expected to exceed 3 billion US dollars,” says Chen Shang Song.

Zimbabwe has been importing 90% of its iron and steel requirements worth over US$300 million annually with the bulk coming from South Africa followed by China, Zambia and Seychelles. With the initial US$1 billion capital investment for the first phase of the project, the country’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa believes his country can quickly eliminate this huge import bill.

“Through this investment, our country will now host one of the largest iron and steel manufacturing plants on the continent. It is expected to produce about 600 000 tonnes of steel per annum, over and above other related products. It is envisaged to leap-frog us to emerge as a dynamic industrial hub, churning out a broad range of value-added, “made in Zimbabwe” iron and steel products, for both local and international markets,” says Mnangagwa.

Production is expected to start in August next year with the iron ore deposits at this site projected to last beyond 100 years.