Kuvimba hits ground running at ZiscoSteel
Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
KUVIMBA Mining House, which entered into a deal with Ziscosteel to spearhead the resuscitation of the defunct steel giant, has hit the ground running after completing the signing of all agreements and is now undertaking critical technical and financial steps to actualise the revival process.
Through Cabinet, Kuvimba Mining House, which has both private and State shareholding and has been resuscitating gold mines, was chosen as the investment partner for the resuscitation of the Redcliff based steel company.
The company has already short-listed a reputable global contractor to lead the technical appraisal for the steelworks with engineers from Germany and Italy expected on the ground to lead the technical assessment of the plant.
The assessment will allow Kuvimba to comprehend the technical viability of the existing works and to estimate the true size of investment that will be required to rebuild the plant.
ZiscoSteel board chair, Engineer Martin Manuhwa, said it was all systems go for the resuscitation of the giant steel company with most service providers having been awarded contracts to start business.
“Technically, Kuvimba has moved in as you might be aware that not everything is done onsite. But I can safely say they are ready to move onsite as and when they are ready,” he said.
“We are done with all signing of all agreements and the investor is ready to come on board to start programs. Some of the programs have already started,” said Eng Manuhwa.
He said from now onwards they will be using key performance indicators to measure progress.
“We are now checking on key indicators of the contractor with much of it being financing of the operations, human resources, as well as technological plan.
“We are going to be using fourth industrial revolution technology, which speaks to green steel mining, decarbonisation, use of less energy for the steel manufacturing value chains, and so on,” said Eng Manuhwa.
“Over the first 90 days of the contract, we have seen Kuvimba deploying critical resources such as international consultants and legal practitioners to enable a smooth management transition.
“We now expect Kuvimba to catalyse the investment process with up to US$300 million capital injection in debt instruments while over US$1 billion is expected to be generated organically from the commercialisation of mining activities. This is a new approach as previously mining was only a captive source of iron ore for the steelworks,” he said.
Eng Manuhwa said the resuscitation of Ziscosteel hinges, in part, on generating cash from mining operations and investing the proceeds to modernise and rebuild the steelworks.
The strategy, he added, is widely accepted by experts to be the most realistic way to timely revive the giant steelworks.
Kuvimba chief executive officer, Mr Simba Chinyemba, said Zisco was a national asset whose revival will be crucial to the country’s economy.
“Zisco is an important national asset and our goal is to see the company flourish to surpass yester-year production levels while creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs for local communities,” he said.
Mr Chinyemba said Zisco’s revival hinges on creating two self-sustaining companies.
Mr Simba Chinyemba
“We are planning to essentially create two self-sustaining businesses and as part of the strategy, we shall create a resource company by commercialising Zisco’s mining operations and more importantly a stand alone steelmaking company with captive supply from the newly created resource company,” said Mr Chinyemba.
Famed for reviving mothballed companies, including Jena Gold Mine, Shamva Gold Mine among others, Kuvimba is expected to play a key role in the resuscitation of the giant steel company, which used to employ 5 000 workers at its peak.
Its closure in 2008 came at a cost to the country’s economy and foreign currency prospects amid reports of the country using US$1 billion for the import of steel.