Steel­mak­ers to in­vest $155m for new tech­nol­ogy on plant

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Mid­lands Cor­re­spon­dent

RED­CLIFF-BASED steel man­u­fac­turer, Steel­mak­ers has be­gun a fea­si­bil­ity study to in­tro­duceuce new tech­nol­ogy at its Masvingo sponge iron sub­sidiary, Simbi Steel­mak­ers.

About $155 mil­lion is ex­pected to be setet aside for the am­bi­tious plan, which willll ramp up out­put ten-fold from cur­rentt pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, which stands at 30 000 per annum at the Masvingo plant.

The new tech­nol­ogy will greatly re­duce over­heads for the lo­cal foundry, which will con­se­quently make the lo­cal en­tity com­pet­i­tive on the re­gional mar­ket where it ex­ports to Zam­bia,, Malawi and Mozam­bique.

Steel­mak­ers op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor Upen­dradra Alamwar told Chron­i­cle Busi­ness thatt the com­pany will be able to com­pete withh other in­ter­na­tional play­ers through bet­ter “in­te­gra­tion and util­i­sa­tion” of re­sources brought about by the pro­posed plant.

“The project is now un­der a fea­si­bil­ity study and still un­der con­sid­er­a­tion. At the mo­ment we are look­ing at the fi­nan­cial as­pect of the project. All those lo­gis­tics are be­ing put into place and if the fea­si­bil­ity is suc­cess­ful then it would be mean bet­ter in­te­gra­tion and util­i­sa­tion of our re­sources,” he said. Un­der the ini­tial plan, the project is set to be fi­nanced through long term bor­row­ings and eq­uity part­ner­ships. The newne tech­nol­ogy will see the sponge iron or DRI fur­ther be­ing con­verted to steel bil­let­bil­lets and the hot bil­let will be charged diredi­rectly to the mills for con­ver­sion to de­formed­def bars and other sec­tions. This will re­sult in the Masvingo plant pro­duc­ing 330 000 tonnes of steelst per annum from 30 000 of steel bbe­ing pro­duced. Steel­mak­ers will wean it­self fr­from the national grid as the new tech­nol­o­gyte will be able to gen­er­ate popower for it­self. “This project will also gen­er­ate ele­c­elec­tric­ity from waste gases to the tune of 18 megawatts (per month). Ad­di­tional en­ergy re­quired for op­er­a­tions of the steel plant wilwill also be gen­er­ated through sep­a­rate coal in­jec­tion,”in­jec­tion said Alamwar. Steel­mak­ers’ com­pet­i­tive­ness has mainly been com­pro­mised by ob­so­lete tech­nol­ogy which has re­sulted in an in­flux of cheap steel mainly from In­dia. Steel­mak­ers re­sumed pro­duc­tion at its Masvingo plant in 2012. It had been closed fol­low­ing a se­ries of break­downs due to the age­ing equip­ment. — @ lavuzi­gara1

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