A CHINESE stainless-steel firm constructing a US$1,5 billion plant near Mvuma says 40% of the project has been completed.
An official said Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) would begin production in August next year.
Project manager Wilfred Motsi told NewsDay Business that construction work at the massive operation was ahead of schedule.
“I can safely say we are at 40% towards completion of the first phase and we are expecting to start production in August next year,” Motsi told NewsDay Business at the weekend.
“At the completion of the first phase, the plant will produce 1 200 metric tonnes of carbon steel and we are ahead by two months,” he said.
A power deal has already been signed for the plant with power utility, Zesa.
Under the deal, the Chinese firm will extend US$55 million in loans to Zesa, which will be used to construct a powerline linking its plant to the national grid.
Motsi said preliminary work and designs for the construction of the powerline were on course.
He said costs for the powerline and other requisite infrastructure would be accommodated in the US$55 million loan.
The firm says it saw opportunities in Zimbabwe despite that scores of steel firms, among them Ziscosteel, have collapsed in the past two decades, leaving the country to import 90% of its steel requirements.
The firm’s chief executive officer Benson Xu said recently that an explosion of infrastructural developments in Africa had ignited the appetite for steel products, which his firm would be able to meet.
“The market is huge in Zimbabwe and even more in Africa where there is a boom of the construction and infrastructure development industry,” he said.
“As a company, we cannot satisfy the local demand. Even in regional markets, in China, our parent company requires millions of tonnes of steel and we cannot provide what it requires, so the market and demand is huge.”