The Mega Chrome project takes shape
The government’s plans to turn mining into a $ 12 billion industry by 2023 are taking shape with the launch of a new multi-million dollar steel and ferro-chromium project by Afrochine.
Construction of the country’s largest production operation is currently underway in Chivhu, 150 kilometers south of the capital Harare, in the eastern province of Mashonaland.
The ferrochrome project is expected to start in the second half of this year and is expected to be the largest such operation in the country and possibly in the SADC region.
Over the weekend, Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando and Minister of State for Mashonaland East Aplonia Munzverengwi visited the megaproject site.
The composite projects will include a carbon steel plant, an iron ore mine and a processing plant as well as a ferrochrome production plant with an annual production capacity of 500,000 tonnes.
Speaking to reporters during the site visit, Minister Chitando said the implementation of the project will involve multi-stakeholder engagements as the project involves various government ministries.
For example, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development will be engaged for the development of road and rail infrastructure to link the project site to Mvuma.
Likewise, the ministries of finance and economic development, land, water, fisheries and rural resettlement, energy and electricity development, local communities, national housing and works audiences will be essential.
“The general idea here is to have an area of around 2,000 hectares where a number of things will happen.
The first is the carbon steel plant, which is about a kilometer and a half, and then there is also a ferrochrome plant next door, which will generate 500,000 tonnes of ferrochrome.
Zimasco produces around 150,000 tonnes. “So it will be three times the size of Zimasco. Then there is an iron ore mine and an iron ore factory.
The total turnover for this whole project will be 1.5 billion tonnes, bigger than Zimplats and any other project you can think of, so this is really the big plan.
“What we need to do now with this plan is to involve all stakeholders,” said Minister Chitando. The megaproject also supports upgrading and upgrading initiatives, which will increase profits as opposed to the export of crude ferrochrome.
It will also boost job creation in the country. Afrochine General Manager Benson Xu said the 1.5 km long and 600 m wide processing plant and the entire project would create jobs for the community.
The steel processing players and other value chain players should enter Chivhu and also develop the industry, ”he said.
AfroChine has several other investments in the country such as those in Selous and Hwange where there are four projects one of which is expected to be officially commissioned by President Mnangagwa in July.
The president of Tsingshan (Afrochine’s parent company) is expected to visit the country in July for high-level engagements with President Mnangagwa and have four programs.
The first program will include two kilns at Selous, while the second at Hwange will initially include a 150,000 tonne coke battery and an additional 150,000 tonnes in the second phase.
“Subsequently, the inauguration of the Chivhu project will follow. The fourth phase will see the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the full implementation of the Chivhu project.
“By then, we should have completed all consultations with departments and Minister of State’s offices.
“So we have tight deadlines to make the necessary consultations so that we are also on the ground, and in mid-July, there is work that would have taken place,” said Minister Chitando.
Zimbabwe is home to the second largest chromium ore resources at around 900 million tonnes, while the world’s resources are 7.5 billion tonnes, making chromium a key growth node.
In 2019, the government said it plans to process the issuance of claims for chromium smelters to improve their production and increase their export contributions to expected revenues by $ 12 billion. Americans.
It came after the foundries made a passionate plea with the government to make allegations to let them know that they had adequate power for their factories which were not currently showing their full potential due to a material. first insufficient.
The implementation of the project is also expected to transform Chivhu into a vibrant city with improved infrastructure such as housing.
“I think they had already planned a city in the Chivhu area for their employees and other developments because what we also want to see is that Chivhu grows thanks to these companies that are coming now and are close to Chivhu.
“Currently, we don’t have enough space here for accommodation, recreation facilities and the like. These are the issues we will now discuss, to see their plan and what they can do other than mining and processing, ”Minister Munzverengwi said.
Afrochine is now the largest chrome smelter in the country and is a subsidiary of Tsingshan which produces 25% of the world’s steel.