MVUMA – A large inter-ministerial delegation comprising senior Government officials was at Manhize in Chikomba yesterday where it toured the site of the proposed US$ 1 billion Chinese US$1 billion iron ore mining project.
The purpose of the visit to the Tsingshan Holdings-run project was to assess the project’s progress.
The delegation which was led by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Onismo Mazai Moyo had representatives from most of the ministries and key Government departments. The three District Development Co-ordinators from Mash East, Midlands and Mash West were also part of the delegation.
It emerged during the tour that the Chinese have already fenced off the 4000ha site and about 15 homesteads belonging to villagers have fallen inside the fence. Tsingshan project manager Johnson Bai said his company is waiting for Government to evict the families.
Bai said his company was waiting for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to start construction of railway lines, power lines and a dam over Munyati River.
Addressing delegates during the tour, Moyo said Government is still ceased with the issue of relocation of villagers and one of the reasons for the tour was to assess progress and project the time that the project will come on stream.
“We are delighted at the Chinese investor’s commitment to the project.
“We have confidence in this company’s investment following the Second Republic’s Open for Business mantra.
“Government through line ministries like Local Government and Lands is carrying another feasibility study to establish how many villagers are likely to be affected by the new development and their number can only be established after the study,” he said.
Bai said the Chinese company through its Zimbabwean subsidiary Afrochine is set to construct two 33Kv power lines from Kwekwe and Selous which will be about 95km and 97 km away respectively.
The construction of power lines will take 18 months.
“In the meantime, we are going to construct a 7km 11kv power line from Chivhu and this is going to take us two weeks to complete,” said Bai.
The project is going to be the largest steel plant in Southern Africa.
Equipped with a 1.5km by 1km carbon and steel plant, iron ore mine and a ferrochrome plant, the project will have the capacity to produce 1.2 million tonnes a year and between 4 000 and 5 000 people will be employed.