Zisco revival begins at last

Indian steel manufacturing conglomerate Essar Africa Holdings has begun the long-awaited process of refurbishing ZISCO- now NewZim Steel. In March 2011, government sealed a $750 million deal with Essar that resulted in Ziscosteel being unbundled into two companies, NewZim Steel and NewZim Minerals, giving Essar 54 percent control of the new company.

Essar was also awarded 80 percent of the former mineral claims of ZISCO, with the government keeping 20 percent.

Refurbishments are being made to the coke oven, sinter plant, steel-making plant, rolling mills and lime plant. Experts are installing a new blast furnace.

Officials, who could not be named for protocol reasons, said a new captive plant and oxygen plant would also be installed at the production site. Industry minister Mike Bimha told The Zimbabwean that Essar had assured government of an imminent re-opening.

In the past Ziscosteel was a major foreign currency earner and former Finance Minister Tendai Biti is on record saying the firm could contribute $1 billion to the Gross Domestic Product.

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