Government vows to descend on illegal scrap metal exports

By Owen Mandovha

GOVERNMENT says the revival of the metal casting industry is at the centre of the country’s re-industrialisation drive.

Metal casting and foundry is the heartbeat of several sectors including mining, manufacturing, defence, aircraft building, agriculture and construction.

The sector’s fortunes have waned over the years due to various economic misfortunes, but the government has vowed to reboot the industry to complement the country’s mineral beneficiation policy thrust.

This was confirmed by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube at the end of a 2-day Metal Casting and Engineering Summit in Harare this Friday.

“The government is seized with the state of affairs in the metal casting and foundry industry and the need to support it because over the years it has faced several challenges including depressed market activity and a broken-down value chain system. For Zimbabwe to fully industrialise, it is important to fully support the sector hence Government is forging ahead in setting up key plants of mineral beneficiation including the Chivhu Steel Plant which will be a game-changer for the local metal casting industry,” he said.

The government bemoaned the widespread and incessant use of imports in the industry and warned unscrupulous players illegally exporting scrap metal which is depriving the local scrap recycling industry.

“Government has banned the exporting of scrap metal save for those players who produce metal elements, but as Government, we have noted with concern unscrupulous companies conniving to export the scrap without approval. This has the potential to suppress the local metal recycling industry leading to unnecessary imports of metal products,” said Honourable Polite Kambamura -Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development.

The summit brought together players in the metal casting and foundry industry and sought to establish ways of harnessing the value chain through enhanced beneficiation of key minerals.