The outbreak of Covid-19 has affected the commissioning of Kwekwe based explosives manufacturing plant, Intrachem.
If it comes to life, the project is expected to save the country US$20 million in terms of imports for explosives.
The commissioning of the plant had to be postponed to November when progress is expected to commence at the plant.
Speaking while commissioning the plant this past week, Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza said the setting up of the project was meant to have been completed by July this year but was delayed by the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Commissioning was supposed to happen in July but will happen in November because of Covid-19,” Nzenza said.
She added, “I have gathered that the company has done requisite registration such as licence permission to construct the explosives manufacturing plant, the company has engaged EMA, engaged the Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority (ZIDA), it has also registered with NSSA as a licensed supplier of explosives and chemicals.
“We have to ensure that we maintain the health and safety of our people. You are also licensed with the Medical Control Authority of Zimbabwe,” she said.
Nzenza said there were high expectations the company will find a good market among big mines in platinum and gold as well as small scale and artisanal miners.
Speaking during the same occasion, Intrachem Managing Director Langton Nyandoro said the company was now ready to commence operations.
“Our plant will be run by a full Zimbabwean team and most of them coming from Kwekwe. Construction of the plant is now complete. We now have power for the transformers,” Nyandoro said.
He said the company is currently going to have some test runs.
“For the next six weeks, we will be doing dry commissioning of the plant which is a slow process where engineers will be testing all equipment then after that, we will commission the plant,” he said.
Nyandoro called on government support for the company to be competitive.
Zimbabwe has been importing explosives from as far as Peru, India and South Africa.
Said Nyandoro, “For us to be competitive, we need support, most importantly on import duty and nostro retention.”
Meanwhile, Nzenza assured the company, government was going to look into the challenges faced by the firm.
“The problems highlighted include the lack of duty exemption for diesel. That’s a matter for discussion, our main aim is to ensure that you remain competitive, that you produce more. In that way, there is less imports,” she said.