STEELMAKERS Zimbabwe has embarked on a multi-million-dollar coal mining project to alleviate the increasing shortage of coal — a key raw material needed in the production of steel.
In a statement made available to businessdigest, Stee
lmakers said the new venture, situated in Chiredzi in the Masvingo mining district, was aimed at increasing coal production in the country.
“The initial idea of applying for a Mining Special Grant was to meet our internal demand, particularly in view of the fact that our Masvingo project was facing crisis owing to erratic coal supplies,” the company said.
Steelmakers earns 40% of its revenue from exports with monthly revenues of between US$6 million and US$8 million.
“Though we are still in the process of setting up a (processing) plant, the response from the market has been overwhelming and we believe we will be in a position to meet this demand and serve local industries in need of coal,” the company said.
Steelmakers said it had purchased extraction equipment which was due to arrive in the country soon.
The equipment would allow the company to dig deeper and process the coal on site and the quality is expected to improve in the short-term.
“There are companies locally that are importing coal and once we install equipment at our plant we believe we will be able to cater for the greater section of industry in Zimbabwe and save foreign currency,” said Steelmakers.
Steelmakers said it was currently holding talks with Ziscosteel management for the supply and guarantee of raw materials in the form of billets and blooms.
“This will enable us to increase production three-fold,” Steelmakers said. Steelmakers last week submitted a proposal to government to help revive Ziscosteel’s operations.
“We have made plans to revive Ziscosteel and we have sent our proposal to the government. We are looking to work in partnership with the government which has said our proposal is very good,” Steelmakers general manager, Alexander Johnson, told a media briefing.
He also revealed that Steelmakers was planning to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and release 60% of its shareholding onto the market, but declined to say when this would happen.