ZIMASCO, a unit of China’s Sinosteel, has engaged the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for the provision of electricity to its new furnaces, spokesperson Ms Clara Sadomba has said.
Being one of the country’s largest ferrochrome producers, Zimasco is building six additional furnaces at its Kwekwe complex and others in Mberengwa with a combined annual capacity of 300 000 tonnes.
Ms Sadomba told The Herald Finance & Business that Zimasco had engaged ZETDC, the power distribution division of Zesa Holdings, for the provision of electricity.
“Zimasco is in the process of installing 2 x 19,8 MVA new furnaces at its east plant, which will produce an additional 70 000 tonnes per annum of ferrochrome alloy,” said Ms Sadomba.
“To date, the contractor has set up a site and civil works have commenced. Commissioning is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023. Discussions with ZETDC for the provision of power is in progress.”
Additional two furnaces of similar capacity have been planned for the west plant and the tender for the construction “was recently awarded and the project is currently at design stage.”
Commissioning of the west plant furnaces is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023. In Nheta, Mberengwa District, 4 x 16,5 MVA construction of furnaces with capacity to produce 160 000 tonnes, is ongoing and discussions with ZETDC over electricity supply are also in progress.
A feasibility study for Nheta was completed and the project would be implemented by Zimasco on its own. It will use new technology to enable the furnaces to take friable ore, which constitutes most of the Nheta chromite ore resource.
Initially, ZIMASCO wanted to implement the Nheta project in partnership with ZimAlloys.
Meanwhile, Sadomba said the methane gas project, a joint venture between Zimasco and Sinosteel being implemented by Shangani Energy Exploration (SEE), was progressing well.
Exploration resumed in July 2021 to carry out core drilling of one hole on each of the three special grants (SGs), planned at various approximate depths between 450 and 1 000 metres.
Core drilling was completed in September 2021 at 690m at the first SG and core samples were taken for evaluation of methane gas content through desorption tests.
SEE is in the process of finalising arrangements for wireline logging to be carried out in the hole completed at the first SG.
This exploration method is used as part of gas resource quantification. The plan is to get the wireline logging to be completed during the first quarter of 2022.
Core drilling at the second SG could be completed during the second quarter of 2021 and a South African company has been contracted to conduct the exercise.
Other works will include installing bigger pumps on existing wells to pump out water quicker thereby releasing gas and measuring its quality and flow rate to ascertain commercial viability.
“(The) results of the works (phase one) will inform the second phase, which is expected to be the sinking of new gas wells after successful application for production SGs status.
“This will be the start of gas production for power generation as well as liquefaction to LNG (liquid natural gas) which can be a substitute for diesel in converted lorries and buses.
“Pilot gas production and electricity generation on a small scale is planned for 2023/24 and this will encourage larger levels of investment. More work for phase three will be scoped in due course, again informed by results of the second phase.”