Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco), a Chinese firm, is in the process of constructing a significant steel manufacturing plant in Manhize, near Mvuma, in Zimbabwe, with a substantial investment of US$1.5 billion. Alongside this mammoth project, Disco has ambitious plans to develop three separate greenfield power projects with a combined capacity of 300 megawatts.
The primary objective behind these three power projects is to supplement the electricity supply from the national grid. This strategic move is aimed at meeting the substantial energy requirements of the steel manufacturing plant, which is set to be commissioned in December of this year and is anticipated to have an initial electricity demand of about 500MW.
Mr. Wilfred Motsi, the project director at Disco, explained that the three power projects, with a total estimated cost of US$300 million, will harness various energy sources. Firstly, one of the power stations will utilise heat generated from the steel plant’s operations to produce electricity, a novel technology for Zimbabwe. This innovative approach involves converting the heat from the blast furnaces into steam, which will then be used to generate 100MW of electricity.
Additionally, the other two power stations, each with a capacity of 100MW, will generate electricity through solar and wind energy. The wind power project, in particular, holds great promise, given the consistent winds in the Manhize area, which are expected to facilitate power generation within the next 10 months.
Once operational, the Manhize steel plant is poised to become Africa’s largest integrated steel facility, with an annual production capacity of 1.2 million tonnes. In its initial phase, Disco will process 600,000 tonnes of carbon steel annually, catering to both local and international markets.
This ambitious venture aims to promote “green steel” production, aligning with environmentally friendly technologies. The implementation of wind and solar power generation further underlines the commitment to sustainable practices in the steel manufacturing process.
The successful commencement of production at the Manhize steel plant is expected to significantly reduce Zimbabwe’s reliance on steel imports, potentially cutting them by up to 90%, from an annual average of approximately US$400 million.