Zimbabwe signs multibillion-dollar mining deal with Chinese company

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Zimbabwe on Tuesday signed a multibillion-dollar mining deal with China's Tsingshan that will see the Chinese firm mining chrome, iron ore, nickel and coal in Zimbabwe.

The deal, whose initial phase will cost 2 billion U.S. dollars before rising to between 5 and 10 billion dollars, may also involve lithium mining, establishment of a power plant and construction of a railway line to the port.

The two countries initially signed the deal last year at a cost of 1 billion dollars but on Tuesday, the two countries signed the new agreement expanding the scope of the original MOU.

Mines Minister Winston Chitando signed on behalf of the Zimbabwe government while Chen Shangsong signed on behalf of Tsingshan.

Chitando said the deal, to be implemented over years, will see the establishment of a 2 million tonnes steel plant in Mvuma, with the initial phase producing 1 million tonnes of carbon steel and the second phase producing another 1 million tonnes of stainless steel.

"The initial MOU signed last year was targeting to produce 550,000 tonnes of ferrochrome for consumption in Mvuma only but we are now targeting 1 million tones for consumption in Mvuma and for export," Chitando said.

The initial deal targeted production of coke specifically for stainless steel operations in Mvuma but now this will be for Mvuma consumption and exports as well.

There will be conversion of coking coal to coke, construction of power plant and provision of a lithium concession for mining and value addition by Tsingshan, Chitando said.

"The MOU will also include Tshingshan looking into the possibility of working with government and other institutions in exploring construction of a railway line to the port," Chitando said.

Chen said the project will create about 30,000 jobs, adding his company was more confident to invest in Zimbabwe due to the support it has received from the Zimbabwe government since 2013.

"We are confident to invest more in Zimbabwe in the future," Chen said during the signing ceremony that was also attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and several other cabinet ministers.

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