How the revival of ZISCO will solve half of Zimbabwe’s economic problems


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HON. GABBUZA: If you sort out ZISCO Steel you have solved half the problems of Hwange Colliery because Hwange Colliery used to supply almost 50 wagons of coking coal every day to ZISCO Steel. If you sorted out ZISCO Steel, you have sorted out the National Railways of Zimbabwe because those wagons were providing a lot of revenue to the railways. ZESA is going to benefit because that Munyati Power Station was constructed specifically to supply power to ZISCO Steel. Studies have shown that the current blast furnaces that are used, if we sorted out ZISCO Steel we can still harness thermal energy from the the heat at the top of the furnaces at ZISCO Steel so that will solve partly some of our problems of power.

There is the issue of the mining industry. This will be solved if we sort out ZISCO Steel because the presence of ZISCO Steel was affording explosives to be manufactured. That is why we have companies like Dyno Nobel because ZISCO Steel enabled Dyno Nobel to harness hydrogen produced at Sable chemicals. Now, Sable Chemicals is very key to our agriculture because it is the sole manufacturer of ammonium nitrate fertilizer from the simplest method of just trapping the air which we breathe in, separate it and produce fertiliser, but for them to do that they need the assistance of ZISCO Steel because ZISCO Steel is the one that used to buy oxygen produced from Sable Chemicals as a by-product and if they bought that oxygen, it made the price of ammonium nitrate fertilizer cheaper. That is why the whites on farms were able to produce in their agriculture at a low cost and were able to export. So, ZISCO Steel is still very key to the economy of this country.

Now, there are issues like the construction industry, obviously. The other day I was traveling – usually I use Mvuma road and I counted up to 107, 30 tonne trucks carrying steel from South Africa, which steel we could be manufacturing from ZISCO Steel – 107 trucks full of steel, that steel which includes angle irons and all these railway steel lines which could be manufactured in ZISCO Steel. So, if we resuscitate ZISCO Steel Madam Speaker, all or half of our problems are gone. The next problem is the issue of Kamativi, I wish the Minister should seriously look at Kamativi. There are 3 key minerals in Kamativi but the mine is closed right now. We have tantalite, the current mineral used for making cell phones and everyone the world over, has got a cell phone. All cell phone companies are busy looking for tantalite and the price of tantalite has gone up.

So we have a low hanging fruit just laying there, there are plenty of deposits in Kamativi and nothing is happening. Lithium is plenty in Kamativi and it is very important for cell phone batteries and for all the dry cell batteries that we are using these days. We know that in the next 3, 4 to 5 years, countries like Britain are saying they will not allow diesel and petrol vehicles in their cities, they will only allow battery powered vehicles. Everyone is moving toward batteries and we have a deposit of Lithium which is very key for battery manufacture and its plenty in Kamativi but nobody is interested in it. In the whole of this region nobody is mining Lithium. The largest deposit is there in Kamativi. We also have tin and the price has gone up mainly because of the wars. Tin is used for the manufacture of bullets and it is used by soldiers when they are carrying canned stuff. Considering the advent of wars in Syria, Middle East and Iraq, for us it means tin is going to fetch a lot of money and is currently at very high price.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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