Chinese mining firms on an upward projection

Albert Chavhunduka

As economic cooperation between Zimbabwe and China continues to deepen, top Chinese companies are making swift progress in the mining business and a number of humongous projects being carried out across the country have already been completed with others near completion in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1) and Vision 2030.

Recently, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development forecasted that Zimbabwe was on track to achieve a US$12 billion mining revenue target by 2023 with a massive US$1 billion projected to come from diamond mining alone.

Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando last week presented to cabinet progress on the 100 Day Cycle projects in the mining sector and among the companies presented are Chinese firms that are of great potential to contribute to Vision 2030.

One of these massive projects being carried out by China in the country is the Afrochine Dinson Colliery for Coking Coal Production in Hwange, which has a set production target of 400 thousand tonnes of coke per day to sustain local and regional demand of the product.

When fully-fledged, the project is expected to be the country’s largest and most advanced coke oven.

The company-a subsidiary of the Chinese-owned stainless steel manufacturer Tsingshan group- began the construction of its plant in 2019 and completed the first phase of its coking coal and coke oven battery in 2021.

 “On the construction of Afrochine Dinson Colliery Plant for Coking Coal Production in Hwange, Matebeleland North, Cabinet reports that the 2nd phase Coke Oven Battery Construction is now at 40% complete, while Concrete Foundation for the 2nd Phase Coke Oven Battery is now complete,” said Chitando.

“The construction of the RioZim Limited Greenfields Diamond Plant Project, Midlands, the nation is informed that the project stood at 92% completion, with all major civil works having been completed.”

The 500 tonne per hour Greenfields Diamond Plant project was commissioned by the country’s largescale diamond producer RioZim, to replace the current 100 tonne per hour, with a target of increasing production fivefold by the first quarter of 2023.

Chitando further posted progress on the US$1 billion Mvuma steel plant, which is also expected to be Africa’s biggest steel plant.

“The construction of Carbon Steel Plant in Chivhu- Mvuma, Mashonaland East – Midlands Provinces, stood at 35% complete,” he said.

The project by Afrochine, is set to help the country overcome its infrastructural development deficit as it was incorporated into the provincial economic plan for the next five years which complimented government’s NDS1 blueprint. 

Minister Chitando further reported on the progress at the Grand Sanyuan Copper Resources Zimbabwe, Alaska where the construction of a furnace for smelting is completed.

“With regard to the Grand Sanyuan Copper Resources Zimbabwe, Alaska, Mashonaland West, Cabinet reports that construction of a furnace for smelting purposes is at 100% complete; setting up of a foundation unit has been completed; and the setting up of electrolysis unit will be undertaken at a later stage,” he said.

Previously known as the Alaska Copper and Smelting, the mine had halted operations back in 2000 which affected over 700 workers and families.

The mine resumed operations in 2021 following a US$12 million capital injection by a Chinese firm in partnership with the Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC) as well as Rusununguko Holdings.

Amazon Ferrochrome Smelter Establishment is another player that recorded progress during the 100 Day Cycle projects in the mining sector.

“Pertaining the construction of the Amazon Ferrochrome Smelter Establishment, at Mutorashanga in Mashonaland West, the nation is informed that the installation of washing plant is at 90% complete,” said Chitando.

The investment will work hand in hand with the Grand Sanyuan Copper Resources to value add chrome produced in the Zvimba North district.

Thousands of jobs are also expected to be created by end of year from these two major smelting plants for people both in Makonde and Zvimba districts.

The recorded progress in the 100-Day Cycle mining industry is evident of Government’s commitment and drive to benefit from the country’s vast mineral resources in line with the achievement of a US$12 billion mining economy and Vision 2030 spearheaded by President Emerson Mnangagwa.

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