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Zimbabwe government seeks new investors in ZISCO steel plant

Ukraine / Africa / Ferrous metallurgy

Officials expect the new investor to leave 35% of the design, procurement and construction operations to local companies.

Zimbabwe government seeks new investors in ZISCO steel plant

Zimbabwe's state-owned steel company Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) is inviting new investors to reopen a steel mill that has been the subject of interest from Indian and Chinese investors in the past, the company said in a press release.

In 2011, Essar Africa Holdings, a division of the Indian Essar Group, agreed to invest up to $ 4 billion in ZISCO, but the deal fell through. In 2017, a Chinese R&F agreement to invest $ 2 billion fell apart after the Harare authorities tried to renegotiate the terms of the deal.

Acting ZISCO Chairman Martin Manuhwa said on Tuesday that the company is again looking for new investors "who would be interested in using funds to revive" the company.

Interested investors must submit their wishes by April 30th. Then some of them will be invited to participate in the bidding process for funding.

The government-selected investor is expected to hand over at least 35% of the design, procurement and construction operations to local residents, Manukhwa said.

ZISCO owns an iron ore mining facility with a design capacity of 2.16 million tonnes of ore per year, as well as a wire company.

ZISCO is 89% owned by the state. In 2018, the Zimbabwean parliament approved a law allowing the government to take on ZISCO's approximately $ 500 million in debt to local and foreign creditors.

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa has helped revitalize Zimbabwe's economy in an effort to deliver on his campaign promise of jobs by increasing mining output.

Prior to Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, ZISCO did not generate large foreign exchange earnings and stopped production of metal products since 2008. The plant's problems are largely attributable to poor management and a lack of funds to modernize outdated equipment.

Before the shutdown, ZISCO smelted one million tons of steel per year. The company employed more than 5,000 people and several thousand more in the value chain in the mechanical engineering and steel industries.

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