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Dinson to construct 300MW power plants

The Chronicle

Oliver Kazunga Online Writer

DINSON Iron and Steel Company (Disco), a Chinese firm constructing the US$1,5 billion steel manufacturing plant in Manhize near Mvuma, plans to develop three greenfield power projects with a combined output of 300 megawatts.

The company is currently constructing a 100-kilometre electricity transmission line to draw power from a ZESA substation in Sherwood, Kwekwe, to the steel plant with about 80 kilometres having already been completed.

According to Dinson, the three power projects will supplement supply from the national grid to meet its electricity requirement of about 500MW under the first phase of the steel manufacturing plant expected to be commissioned in December this year.

In an interview, Disco project director Mr Wilfred Motsi said the three power projects to be constructed at a total cost of US$300 million entail power plants that will generate electricity using heat produced from the steel plant’s operations.

The other two power stations where each would be producing 100MW will produce electricity from solar and wind energy.

“Actually, we are developing a plant that generates electricity using heat produced from our operations at the steel plant in Manhize.

“It’s a new technology (heat from the steel plant is converted to electricity) coming into Zimbabwe whereby the heat generated from the blast furnaces is then converted into steam which that steam would go and generate electricity from that complex (power workshop) that is being constructed, and it will be producing 100MW.

“When we commission the first blast furnace, the power workshop will be commissioned also because that heat will be integrated within the blast furnace being constructed,” he said.

The Manhize steel project is expected to be Africa’s largest integrated steel plant producing 1,2 million tonnes annually and under the first phase of the investment, Disco will be processing 600 000 tonnes of carbon steel per year for local and export markets.

To guarantee the production targets set under the first phase of the steel plant, Mr Motsi said: “We want to produce what is called green steel so that green steel can only use the green technology which is coming in.

“We are also going to construct a power plant for the wind which is 100MW again and we are at a very advanced stage to construct the wind power and already everything has been done for the wind.”

“Actually the Manhize mountain is one of the best mountains in Zimbabwe or even in Southern Africa which can generate power because that wind is perennial and I think that one we are saying within 10 months or so, we’ll be getting power generated from the wind on the climax of that mountain,” he said.

Once production starts at Manhize, the steel plant is expected to drastically cut steel imports in Zimbabwe by 90 percent from the current average of about US$400 million per annum.

The Dinson steel project is one of the signature investments expected to contribute exponentially to Zimbabwe’s economic growth and the country having in the past been known as a regional iron and steel hub.

Zimbabwe lost its status as one of the continent’s largest steel producers following the collapse of Zisco in 2008.

The country became a net importer of steel and iron products, squeezed by plummeting production and subsequent closure of Zisco, which stopped operations in 2008.