- July 2, 2019
- Posted in LOCAL
Masvingo City’s sole heavy industry firm, Sponge Iron Mining and Beneficiation Industries (SIMBI), has revealed plans to start producing nearly 20MW of electricity at its sponge-iron manufacturing plant once council guarantees sufficient water supplies.
SIMBI, a subsidiary of Kwekwe-based Steelmakers, produces sponge iron for local consumption and export at its Masvingo plant.
SIMBI operations are currently being hampered by shortage of water and recurrent power cuts, forcing the firm to operate at 75 percent capacity.
Speaking during a tour of senior Government officials led by Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Ezra Chadzamira, SIMBI general manager Mr Anand Rao said the sponge iron plant could generate power for its own use and also feed into the national grid.
‘’We are facing a severe challenge of water, the water that we are getting is not enough because we need lots of water for cooling during the manufacture of sponge iron,’’ he said.
‘’If we can get enough water we can guarantee that we will be able to generate up to 20MW of electricity which is enough to feed the whole of Masvingo. We will generate power for our own plant and feed the excess power into the national grid.’’
Mr Rao said his firm had previously engaged Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and Masvingo City to find ways of improving water supplies to no avail.
He said Government should move in and ensure SIMBI has enough water supplies, saying capacitating the firm to generate power will reduce Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority’s power import bill.
In response, Minister Chadzamira said Government was prepared to assist SIMBI to generate the electricity.
‘’We will surely look at how best we can help them because they have indicated that they are able to produce up to 20MW of electricity if they get sufficient water supplies and that power will light up the whole of Masvingo Province, so I think that is good news and we will closely look into that,’’ he said.
Cde Chadzamira said Government welcome firms such as SIMBI that were keen to increase production, while in the process creating employment.
‘’As Government, we are happy that SIMBI is even prepared to start generating electricity at its sponge iron plant which runs non-stop which means as Masvingo we will be guaranteed of power supplies, particularly now when the country is not producing enough power,’’ he said.
SIMBI produces 75 tonnes of sponge daily out of full capacity of 100 tonnes with water and power shortages cited as causing failure to achieve optimum production.
Masvingo has a number of outstanding power generation projects which if rolled out will greatly ease power shortages.
Top among them is the planned mini-hydro power plant at 15MW Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in Chivi.
The US$20 million power project is being done by Tokwe-Mukosi Pvt Ltd which has since been issued with a power generation licence by the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe._The Herald