MVUMA: To the northeast of the rather laid-back town of Mvuma, a din of heavy machinery clearing land reaches a crescendo much to the attention of many passers-by who stop and gaze momentarily, before proceeding with their chores.
Boys and girls from the nearby Nyikavanhu Primary School, are especially caught up in the rare specter of groggy diesel engines, the drooling and rattling fleet of yellow machines.
A huge beast of a heavy machine, with screeching spherical metal wheels, crawls, mauls mother earth, swallows mounds of soil and stones, then like a sphinx, rotates at the dictates of its operator and vomits into a dump.
This is a fit, it repeats again and again, and, again and again, uprooting huge trees while at the same time, moving huge boulders without much ado.
On the other end, an excavator mesmerizes a crowd of kids who have just gathered as it stoops in gait before stretching its long and giant bucket arm to scoop the rubbles and loading them into a tipper in swing-swung fashion.
The raving and puffing noise from the heavy-duty machine engines resonate well with a coterie of danger warning insignia signs around the area indicating there were “men at work”.
Clouds of dust waft as the machines reap through the mother earth.
The earth-moving machines are clearing land in preparation for a USD $1 billion Iron and Steel plant project by a Chinese giant, TsingShan Group Holdings in Mvuma.
This followed several meetings between high-ranking Government officials and the investor which have been going on since last year.
And in line with President Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe is open for Business mantra, one of the largest iron and steel projects in the country is now in motion.
The plant which will come with a ferrochrome furnace is poised to be one of the biggest employers in the country with a projected workforce of around 4 500 employees.
The project will run under the Drinson Iron and Steel Company (DISCO), will be equipped with a carbon and steel plant an iron ore mine, and a ferrochrome plant, with a capacity to produce 12 million tonnes per year according to the feasibility study report.
In terms of employment creation, over 100 workers have already been contracted to set up the plant.
And as the Government moves with its vision 2030 of an upper-middle-class economy agenda, the new company would have come at the right hour with Mvuma being granted town status.
Acting District Development Coordinator for Mvuma, Charltone Murove said there were exciting times ahead for Mvuma with the potential of it becoming one of the fastest-growing towns in the country.
“We are happy that Government is undertaking one of the biggest projects in the country in Mvuma and soon Mvuma will be an economic hub as TsingShan Group Holdings is working on establishing a giant iron and steel company here.
It is exciting that this is coming with the Government giving Mvuma the town status nod. We are currently running around putting up everything that is needed for Mvuma to become a town,” said Murove.
He said the new company was moving fast in establishing the plant with a conveyor belt that stretches for about 5 km from the mine to the plant being installed.
“Clearing the land is underway. There are several structures that are already been erected on the ground as the company is moving with speed to set up the plant,” he said.
Murove said from the meetings which have been conducted between the official and the company management, Disco is expected to be operational by July next year.
“They are moving with speed, the dining hall, staff quarters, and offices are under construction, and from the meetings, we have been having, the company will be operating by mid-next year if all goes according to plan,” he said.
Chief Chirumanzu said people in the entire district were excited about the huge project and its prospects in the area.
“What is more exciting is that the company has started employing locals and when at full throttle, we understand over 400 000 workers will be required and for sure Mvuma is poised for a huge growth,” he said.
Margret Munyamani, a local villager said the landscape for Mvuma was slowly changing.
“Its interesting times for our area I have a kid already employed at the new company,” she said – Herald