A newly commissioned coking company ZimCoke which is premised within Ziscosteel has taken over a $225 million debt owed to a German institution by ailing steel giant, company Chief Executive Officer Bill Moore has said.
Speaking of the $133 million investment at the defunct integrated steelworks giant, Moore said ZimCoke is taking over the ZiscoSteel German debt.
“A key aspect of the project has been ZimCoke taking over the KfW debt from Zisco. KfW is the German Government development bank and this debt had ballooned to $225 million,” he said.
The move according to Moore has deepened bilateral relations.
The strategic positioning of the company is also set to benefit chemicals producing firm Zimchem which is also premised within Ziscosteel.
Zimchem has been struggling in terms of raw materials.
The situation has seen productive levels hitting low levels at Zimchem as their raw material suppliers are targeting regional markets.
“Coke is strategic to industry and thus ZimCoke is strategic to Zimbabwe,” said Moore before adding, “Most of the by-products will go to Zimchem where they are further refined to make a multiplicity of products, for example, road tar and creosote.
“ZimCoke has also taken a share in Zimchem and will be its biggest supplier. The by-products from ZimCoke will give Zimchem a new lease of life.”
The coking company is expected to start production within six months.
In the meantime, the CEO said the company is first going to work on the resuscitation of Ziscosteel batteries which have been down for over a decade.
“ZimCoke will first start up Battrey No3 and recondition the by-products plant, coal and coke handing etc in parallel. This will take less than six months,”
The firm is projected to make an excess of a quarter of a million which is more than te local consumption.
“No3 will produce in excess a quarter of a million tonnes of coke a year,” said Moore who also indicated that the coke will be exported within the regional markets.
“This coke will be exported to Glencore in South Africa-an off-table agreement with Clencore is in place,” he said.
Glocore is believed to be the world’s biggest trading company.
“When No3 Battery is running smoothly Batteries 1&2 will be refurbished and production will rise to half a million tonnes a year,” he said.
Moore indicated that the cleaned coke-oven gas will go back to the battery to heat it.
He however, indicated that the battery only needs half of the gas explaining that, “the other half will be converted to electricity via a gas turbine generator and produce about 35 megawatts of electricity to feed into the grid.”