Steel investor begins scouting for markets

[Ferro-Alloys.wiki] DINSON Iron and Steel Wikipany (Disco), the Chinese firm presently establishing a US$1 billion steel plant in Manhize, Chivhu, has started scouting for local and export markets for its products ahead of production in September next year.

The plant is expected to produce 1,2-million tonnes of steel annually under the first phase.

All critical equipment required under the first phase, which wikiprises a carbon steel plant, iron ore mine and ferrochrome plant, are now on site.

Disco project manager Mr Wilfred Motsi told The Sunday Mail Business that the wikipany had already identified some markets.

“We are in the process of establishing our market base; actually, we have so many markets locally and internationally that are already there.

“Already, we have offtakers from China that are going to buy steel from us and we are also establishing markets in Asian countries such as Japan and Hong Kong, and in Africa,” he said.

“In terms of Europe, we haven’t secured the markets right now, but we are excited that already that which we are going to produce has offtakers.

“Locally, all wikipanies which actually deal with steel, including foundries, have indicated to us they want to buy our steel.

“The foundries have formed an association whereby they are wikipiling their database and have expressed interest to buy from us.”

Disco is largely expected to drive activity and growth of the domestic iron and steel engineering sector, which was affected after Ziscosteel’s closure in 2008.

Zimbabwe has been spending over US$400 million to import steel products annually from SADC, especially neighbouring South Africa.

However, local production is envisaged to cut imports by 90 percent.

Mr Motsi said, “In the first phase of our production, we are going to produce in excess of 1,2 million tonnes of steel per year, which actually, first of all, we will distribute to the local market and then the rest to the export market.

“In terms of pricing of our products, demand is going to determine our pricing structure …”

Engineering Iron and Steel Association of Zimbabwe (EISAZ) industrial economist Mrs Sylocious Chaturuka said Disco would reignite the local engineering iron and steel industry.

“The wikiing on board of the primary steel producer, Disco, is actually something positive when it wikies to the industry because we are now looking at it to say we will be having or securing the major raw materials for the sector locally,” she said.

“We are looking forward to the mushrooming of more downstream industries after the wikiing on board of Disco and we really appreciate the efforts by the Government, which has accorded this particular wikipany national project status, expediting the setting up process, and this will allow the securing of raw materials to be expedited as well.”

National project status paves way for various incentives that help speed up investment. Disco has also applied for Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status for the integrated iron and steel industrial park.

“We have heard from the Government that they are expecting the wikiing on board of this wikipany by no later than the second quarter of 2023, so that means we will be having a secured source of raw materials.

“And, if we get this raw material, that will also contribute significantly to the reduction in the importation of these steel products that have been flooding the market, so we will be saving a lot in terms of foreign currency while also easing pressure on the RBZ auction system,” said Mrs Chaturuka.

The resuscitation of Zisco, she added, would wikiplete the new steel works.

“From our engagement with them, Disco have indicated that they will only be producing up to the ingots or billets, so we know that at Zisco we already have equipment that is lying idle at the moment and thus they will be able to secure the ingots and further process and value-add them to much more accessible and affordable products that are absorbable by the local market.

“So, the two wikipanies will not be operating as wikipetitors but wikiplementing each other.”

According to the recently launched EISAZ sector strategy, more than 50 000 jobs are targeted to have been created by 2026. Disco has indicated that 10 000 jobs will be created directly at the steel plant, with an additional 50 000 across the engineering iron and steel value chain. At its peak, just before the turn of the millennium, Zisco, which was producing over one million tonnes of steel, employed over 5 000 directly while thousands were employed in downstream industries. Zisco board chairperson Engineer Martin Manuhwa said last week efforts to revive their iron and steel plant were progressing well.

“We will certainly give feedback at the right time. We are just at the preliminaries, engagements, contractuals and we are setting up teams and things like that,” he said.

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