Lovemore Zigara in GWERU
Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company has commenced the construction of a $50 million tile and brick plant in Gweru, just two years after the project was approved.
All is set for construction work to start next week, beginning with the laying of the water and sewer reticulation system.
The plant will be located at Indiva Farm on the outskirts of Gweru, along the Mvuma Road, where SZCC is also housed.
SZCC managing director Yong Wang said the project is set to start in the first week of September and should be completed by August next year.
“The sewer and water reticulation exercise is set to start in September and once completed we will start the construction of the main plant.
“We hope this job will be completed by August next year by which time we will embark on a trial run before full scale production begins,” said Mr Wang.
“Funds for the project have already been availed by the new investor whom I will not name now but what has been stopping us are regulatory approvals from bodies such as NSSA and EMA,” he added.
SZCC, a joint venture between the Industrial Development Corporation and the Chinese Government through China Building Materials Corporation through its subsidiary Sinoma had been mandated to oversee the brick and tile plant whose ground breaking ceremony was done in 2015.
However, a growth deceleration in the Chinese economy since 2015 resulted in CBMC failing to finance the project resulting in the conglomerate courting other investors to bankroll the project.
A new Chinese investor who is registered in Mauritius was roped in last year and has since availed funds to kick start the construction of the project.
He said the brick and tile project should have kicked off last year after Sinoma had committed to inject $20 million under the first phase of the three phased project in which production is expected to peak 100 million of bricks and tiles per year.
About 500 people are expected to be employed during the construction stage while over 200 will be employed when the company becomes operational.
The plant will rely on quarry shell and coal ash for raw materials which are by-products of SZCC operations and is targeting to export the bricks, some which are used to line blast furnaces into the region especially South Africa.