HomeTechnologyDIDG shifts investment focus to SA

DIDG shifts investment focus to SA

Tinashe Kairiza

DIASPORA Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG), whose US$400 million National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) revival bid was terminated by government, has appointed London Stock Exchange (LSE) listed Intertek, as it forges ahead with the construction of a US$30 million titanium plant in neighbouring South Africa.

Government terminated the DIDG US$400 million bid for lacking the financial muscle to roll out the massive project in 2019.

The South African consortium, which is on the verge of suing the local rail operator at a cost of US$251 million citing the irregularities marring its NRZ revival bid, has shifted its attention to the neighbouring country, where it is setting up the multi-million-dollar titanium dioxide beneficiation plant.

Last year, the group, which had mobilised close to US$1 billion to revamp Zimbabwe’s shambolic rail system before its bid was terminated by government also roped in Distributed Power Africa (DPA) to set up a 30MW station that will power the titanium dioxide plant. DPA, which is owned by telecommunications business mogul Strive Masiyiwa, will inject a US$10 million capital outlay to set up the solar plant.

With DPA on board, DIDG has been awarded US$90 million tax incentives for embracing renewable energy sources. The first phase of setting up a 1MW unit under construction time lines of the solar plant was commissioned in January.

DPA will run the solar plant for 20 years as the minerals processing plant seeks to diversify its renewable energy sources.

The titanium dioxide producing plant requires 22MW to support its operations.

The latest appointment of Intertek as the consortium’s quality and assurance partner, DIDG chief executive Donovan Chimhandamba said, “marks another critical milestone in the company’s mission to support the country’s beneficiation agenda”.

“The appointment of Intertek marks another critical milestone in the company’s mission to support the country’s beneficiation agenda,” Chimhandamba told businessdigest this week.

“For Nyanza to be a leading titanium dioxide pigment manufacturing company, quality control and assurance is of paramount importance.”

Intertek will take over the role of the quality control and assurance processes when the first phase of the plant is commissioned in the 4th quarter of 2021.

Intertek, a leading Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide, is also a member of the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index, with an annual turnover of US$4 billion (R60 billion).

The titanium dioxide beneficiation plant, which is being set up in the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) is being rolled out by Nyanza Light Metals, a subsidiary of DIDG.

Nyanza Light Metals will process about 80 000 tonnes of titanium dioxide at the beneficiation plant once it becomes operational in 2023.

Titanium dioxide is a key raw material used to manufacture cosmetics, dyes, paint and plastics.

Nyanza Light Metals has created close to 1 000 jobs at its titanium producing plant in Richards Bay. DBF Capital and Arkein Capital Partners constitute Nyanza Light Metals shareholders.

DBF — whose shareholders are founders of BancABC in Zimbabwe, namely Doug Munatsi, Beki Moyo and Francis Dzvanda — hold a 30% stake in Nyanza, while Arkein Capital Partners Donovan Chimhandamba, Rob Mhishi and Ian Cameron hold the controlling shareholding.

With Zimbabwe’s investment climate ranked unfavourable, spooked investors have been shifting their focus to stable jurisdictions such as South Africa.

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