HARARE (Reuters) – China’s R&F plans to invest up to $2 billion to revive operations at Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO), the southern African nation’s industry and commerce minister said on Tuesday.
Saddled by high debt and gross mismanagement, ZISCO ceased production in 2008 at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said that teams from R&F had been travelling to Zimbabwe in the past six months to perform due diligence and negotiate the deal.
He did not provide further details on the deal, but said that between $1 billion and $2 billion would be required to restart the steelmaker’s operations.
“We have already agreed with them on the framework of their operation … But there is a lot of work to be done,” Bimha said late on Monday.
“We believe that in the next 18 months we will be able to see the production of a million tonnes of steel (a year)”.
Essar Africa Holdings, a unit of India’s Essar Group, had agreed to invest in ZISCO in 2011 but the deal collapsed in 2015.