There used to be a train called the ZISCO Train, which carried coking coal from Hwange. If you drive along Bulawayo Road the train wagons, I am sure they are more than 50, between Kwekwe and Gweru, they have been redundant because there is no activity at ZISCO Steel. The operation of ZISCO Steel would certainly assist the growth of Hwange Colliery which we all know that to date, workers are owed almost eight months of salaries arrears from last year. Certainly, if ZISCO Steel was operational this would assist Hwange Colliery Company workers, the surrounding villagers and the Hwange community.
If ZISCO Steel was operational; we went through the ESSAR proposal for the resuscitation of ZISCO Steel; it was going to assist in reducing the shortages of power in this country. The excess heat from blast furnace, ESSAR had proposed that they were going to channel the heat to produce more energy, about 100 megawatts of power. This is what we are losing. If ZISCO Steel was operational, by now we would have an extra 100 megawatts of energy which we desperately need in this time of power shortages.
ZISCO Steel vis-a-vis Sable Chemicals; Sable Chemicals is a fertilizer company located near ZISCO Steel. Why was it strategically located there? Both ZISCO Steel and Sable Chemicals were so interlinked and currently both companies are not fully operational. How did ZISCO Steel support Sable chemicals? In the manufacture of fertilizer particularly ammonium nitrate Mr. Speaker, there is need for nitrogen and hydrogen, all which come from the ordinary air which goes through a separation plant which separates that air into nitrogen and hydrogen. There is oxygen which comes out as an excess. All that excess oxygen from Sable Chemical which it did not need for the manufacture of ammonium nitrate was channeled to ZISCO Steel to blast or oxygenate the blast furnaces, to oxidize the iron ore in the blast furnaces. ZISCO Steel did not get that oxygen for free; they were buying it from Sable Chemical.
As a result, it made fertilizer cheaper to buy. Currently, most of us are wondering why fertilizer has become so expensive compared to the regional prices, I am told from those who are in the know, outside Zimbabwe is in the region of $18 or no more than $20 compared to our current $35 for 50kg. It is expensive mainly because ZISCO Steel contributed by buying the excess oxygen for the by-product fertilizer manufacturing was actually subsidizing the price. The same can be said of Dyno Nobel, it bought the hydrogen from Sable Chemicals as a by-product to make their explosives. That is why today you find Dyno Nobel an explosive manufacturing company, is located near Sable Chemicals. All these bi-products, when sold they made fertilizer cheaper because Sable Chemical was not selling fertilizer only. They would have made excess money from selling the excess oxygen sold to ZISCO Steel and some to hospitals in terms oxygen cylinders for resuscitating dying people in hospitals. All the by-products assisted in making fertilizer cheaper and hence now the fertilizer is very expensive.
Mr. Speaker, it is also important that we realise how ZISCO Steel assisted some subsidiary fencing companies like Salwire, Fence Africa and Lancashire Steel, all these companies that I am mentioning are no longer there because of ZISCO Steel.
My point here Mr. Speaker is trying to advocate if it were possible, Government could put all the necessary resources. If we cannot get an investor why can we not put our own resources to make sure ZISCO Steel starts operating as one of the issues His Excellency mentioned in His Speech? ZISCO Steel is definitely going to assist a lot in making sure that the economy of Zimbabwe starts ticking. If ZISCO Steel started operating today Mr. Speaker, I think one quarter if not 50% of our problems would be a thing of the past. It is so intricate and interlocked to all aspects of the economy of this country, ranging from mines, hospitals, agriculture and others that I have mentions.
It is my appeal that if we are to live by what His Excellency mention the issue of revitalising industries, if we can possibly as a Government prioritise the resuscitation of ZISCO Steel because this is almost a panacea to some or almost all of our problems in this country I thank you.