Date: Sep 4, 2018

Walter Mswazie in Masvingo

THE prevailing water shortage in Masvingo has stalled the re-opening of Steel Makers Sponge Iron plant.

Masvingo city has been battling a serious water shortage following the breakdown of two pumps at the local authority’s main station at Bushmead. The pumps have been taken to Harare for repairs and residents have been getting water through bowsers, two weeks on.

The re-opening of the company is set to earn the country about $1 million through sponge steel exports per annum once operations resume.

General manager, Mr Anandeeswara Baggam, said the company had received coal from Botswana and Chiredzi in the lowveld, which was enough to start operation adding that close to 700 former workers would be retained. He said production was expected to resume last Saturday but it had been delayed by the prevailing water crisis in Masvingo, which has seen the city go for two weeks without running water.

Water plays an important role during production of sponge steel as the coal used in the manufacturing processes needs continuous moisture supply.

“We could have resumed operations on 1 September (Saturday) but the water crisis currently affecting Masvingo has made life difficult for us,” said Mr Baggam.

He said the market for the company’s products was ready although production costs made the prices not attractive but hoped inflation would come down so that the company could operate profitably.

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