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20 000 tonnes of limestone expected at Zisco by August

Story by Theophilus Chuma

The first steps of production are in motion at Ziscosteel with the initial 20 000 tonnes of limestone ore, a key raw material in steel production, expected by the end of next month.

The revival of the giant steel-making plant is on course, with operations at the limestone pit expected to produce its first throughput of the critical raw material in the production of steel by the end of next month.

Board Chairperson Engineer Martin Manhuwa says the de-watering process of the pit will be completed soon, signalling the beginning of operations at the steel plant.

“We are looking at getting the first tonnage out of the Limestone Pit by the end of August and this really is critical to shaping our production process going forward. There have been delays by the contractor, but we are confident everything should start by the end of August,” he said.

ZISCO’s Ripple Creek claim has limestone and measured iron ore resources above one hundred million tonnes.

According to official estimates from the Chamber of Mines, Ziscosteel has about 60 million tonnes at the higher grade of about 53 percent, enough to last over 30 years if the steel manufacturing giant produces one million tonnes of product per year.

Ziscosteel is looking at re-harnessing this potential to produce high-grade steel and venture into stainless steel production.

“We have set the first production targets of iron within the next eighteen to twenty-four months. So we are looking at producing at least 1 million tonnes of ore when we get back on track to production,” noted Ziscosteel Group Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Farai Karonga.

The firm has also confirmed the finalisation of all legal processes and partnerships to facilitate the revival of the plant through its parent firm, Kuvimba Mining House.

A recapitalisation package for Ziscosteel has already been set up to revive this strategic asset as explained by Kuvimba Mining House Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Simbarashe Chinyemba.

“This is very important to us as important as it is to Zimbabwe. We want to get it right. We want to make sure that whatever we do takes into account all the nuances around a giant such as that.”

Kuvimba Mining House says the Ziscosteel revival strategy is hinged on generating cash from mining operations and investing the proceeds to modernise and rebuild the steelworks.

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