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Zimbabwe’s ambitious value addition got a boost yesterday after Dinson Colliery Company had its successful first production of coking coal at its Hwange plant.

The company, which is a subsidiary of Chinese global investor, Tsingshan Holding Group, plans to produce about 400 tonnes of coke per day in the near future to meet both local and regional demand of the product.

Recently, the Dinson Colliery was heating up its new furnace in preparation for the start of metallurgical coke production at the US$30 million plant.

In an interview yesterday, Dinson Colliery director Mr Benson Xu confirmed the development to The Herald.

“We had a successful first push of the coke product today (yesterday). The plant is now commissioned and as we go forward, we believe we will continue to have smooth production,” said Mr Benson.

“Many companies in Zambian and South Africa prefer our coke because it is hard given the latest technology we use to produce it.”

Mr Benson added that the product is wanted locally by some smelting companies, which use it for their production processes.

He said they have already started construction for the second phase of their project, as the company seeks to deepen the value addition drive, which feeds into Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 of an empowered and prosperous upper middle income economy.

Tsingshan Holding Group completed construction of its first 150 000-tonne coke battery in April and construction of a third coke battery and power station will start in November 2021, again in Hwange.

The company expects to be a net exporter of power by 2023 through contribution of coal mining, coke production and energy generation capital projects mainly in Hwange.

Construction of coking plants at Dinson Colliery is in two phases and about US$30 million has been invested in the first phase with the same amount set aside for phase two, which has begun.

Dinson Colliery is one of the nine new coal mines and coking plants visited by President Mnangagwa in July last year and is set to become the largest and most advanced coke oven in Zimbabwe.The company started building its plant in 2019 but progress was stalled by the outbreak of Covid-19 until the Government engaged its Chinese counterparts to facilitate the return of experts who had been locked in the Asian country to complete the projects.

Recently, Cabinet received an update on the Tsingshan Consolidated mining and value-addition project, which is expected to considerably contribute towards the achievement of the US$12 billion mining industry milestone by 2023.

Cabinet noted that the Chinese investor had made notable progress towards operationalising its projects, since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2018.

Tsingshan completed two high carbon ferrochrome furnaces in Selous, in April 2021 and completed the construction of the first 150 000-tonne coke battery, again in April.

In November, Tsingshan will commence construction of a third coke battery and a power station in Hwange area.

Similarly, a ground-breaking ceremony for the company’s iron ore mine as well as a carbon steel plant will be held next month in the Manhize area of Mvuma.

Tsingshan’s project is expected to transform Zimbabwe and potentially the rest of Africa given its huge economic multipliers on rail and road, logistics, power generation and transmission.

An inter-ministerial committee to coordinate the Tsingshan Consolidated mining projects has since been set up by Cabinet, and it was at the company’s other subsidiary, Afrochine Smelting, last Thursday to assess progress.

The ministries in the committee are; Ministry of Mines and Mining Development whose permanent secretary will chair proceedings while others include ministries of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Energy and Power Development, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Local Government and Public Works, Finance and Economic Development as well as Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.

Tsingshan is a top player ranked number 329 on the Global 500 Fortune companies’ index, and number 84 in the top 500 Chinese enterprises, and number 14 in Chinese private enterprises 500.

Founded in 1992, the company’s sales revenue was US$44,9 billion last year.

The company is committed to producing high-quality, environment-friendly and low-cost stainless steel products, whose output last year was over 10 million tonnes.

It has been operating in Zimbabwe for 10 years, first in Selous in Mashonaland West, then Hwange and has now cast its sight on Mvuma in the Midlands Province.