Zimbabwe’s defunct steelmaker, the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco), is set to resume operations in the next 12 months, more than a decade after it ceased operations.
Once one of Africa’s top steel producers, Zisco closed shop in 2007 at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. At its peak, the steelmaker had a capacity output of one million tonnes per year, in which 70 percent accounted for exports.
The closure of the steel giant had ripple effects on the economy as various companies that relied on Zisco for production purposes had to close, downsize, or switch to uncompetitive imports.
Earlier this year, the government approved the partnership between Zisco and Kuvimba Mining House, one of Zimbabwe’s largest mining outfits, for the resuscitation of the steel producer.
Addressing Zisco and Kuvimba management in the mining town of Redcliff on Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza said the resuscitation of Zisco was a top government priority and would reduce Zimbabwe’s huge import bill on steel products, state-run Herald Newspaper reported on Thursday.
Currently, Zimbabwe imports steel and steel by-products worth over one billion U.S. dollars per year mainly from Turkey, South Africa and India.
Kuvimba, in which the government has 65 percent shareholding, was recently tasked with the resuscitation of Jena and Shamva gold mines in the Midlands and Mashonaland Central provinces respectively.
The revival of the steel industry is at the core of Zimbabwe’s re-industrialization agenda as the country seeks to reclaim its position as a top steel producer in Africa.