500ha cleared for Mapinga US$13bn industrial project

Senior Business Reporter THE Government says at least 500 hectares (ha) have been secured for the development of the US$13 billion mine-to-energy industrial park in Mapinga, Mashonaland West province. In 2022, the Government and two Chinese investors, Eagle Canyon International Group Limited and Pacific Goal Investment, signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of […]

500ha cleared for Mapinga  US$13bn industrial project

Senior Business Reporter

THE Government says at least 500 hectares (ha) have been secured for the development of the US$13 billion mine-to-energy industrial park in Mapinga, Mashonaland West province.

In 2022, the Government and two Chinese investors, Eagle Canyon International Group Limited and Pacific Goal Investment, signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of the mine-to-energy industrial park.

The project requires 5 000ha and while the land has been identified, some of it is still occupied by farmers, who will need to be engaged before relocation.

The US$13 billion composite project, the first of its kind in Zimbabwe, is expected to drive economic growth through the beneficiation of minerals.

It underpins the Government’s commitment to clean energy, deemed a critical enabler to leapfrog the country’s modernisation and industrialisation agenda.

In an interview, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development Mr Pfungwa Kunaka said the investor had already been offered the ground to establish the industrial park.

He said the next step was to ensure that farmers around the industrial park were relocated.

“There are three forms of intervention on the farmers — there could be cases of relocation, outright compensation and there is also some option of integrating them into the project.

“What we mean is we can assess them and give them land within the industrial park, where they establish their homes there and by the end of the day, they will be part and parcel of the players in the industrial park.

“To date, we have already cleared at least 500ha and the next component is for us to clear the mining titles that are within the concession,” he said, adding that the bulk of the mining titles were for chrome held by RioZim.

Under the first phase of the project, US$4 billion would be spent.

Mr Kunaka said the Government, through his ministry, was looking at expropriation of the mining titles within the industrial
park so that more land is cleared for the investor.

“Expropriation is a due process that has to be undertaken with a view to opening up the ground to the investor — so the two measures to clear the miners and the farmers is one of the critical steps to have the investor move on the ground.

“There had to be due process of consulting the farmers in the area so that they are part and parcel of the project.

“The investor is going to move in phases, from phase 1 up to 5. One other critical issue we have had the investor do is to get some understanding with local traditional leaders,” he said.

“In any project that we embark on, we ensure that we respect the customs of a given area, so the investor has already engaged through facilitation by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to seek consent of the traditional leaders and that has been done.

“What now awaits the investor is to undertake their feasibility studies and design works of where to site this particular plant because there are different components that will go into that industrial park.”

Mr Kunaka said the Government was negotiating with settlers to incrementally clear the land earmarked for the project presently occupied by some farmers.

“We had to employ consultation so that we could get some understanding with them.

“We also had the issue of evaluating the projects which were there, which process took a bit of time but because these have now pretty much been fulfilled, we should see some pace in terms of implementation on the aspect of clearing the ground.”

He said the investor was keen to execute the mine-to-energy industrial park project.

Last year, about 20 Chinese investors from the China Chamber of Commerce were brought into the country by Eagle Canyon to scout for opportunities at Mapinga.

The delegation consisted of officials from large firms in the new energy business, including Power Construction Corporation of China (POERCHINA), China Energy Engineering Group, China Machinery Engineering Corporation, Lindu (Guangdong) Intelligent Technology Development, Yuhuan Shangbo Power Company, and Zhejiang Isola New Energy Company.

“One issue which is important is when we have this investor, there is also an option where other investors can come in depending on the element of value addition they want to do — some would want to manufacture lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicles,” said Mr Kunaka.

The development of the mine-to-energy industrial park in Mapinga is testament to the Government’s commitment to implement clean energy projects that are vital enablers for driving modernisation and industrialisation of the country.

The Mapinga energy project will include the construction of two 300-megawatt power stations, a coking coal plant, a lithium salt plant, a graphite processing plant and nickel-chromium alloy smelters, as well as a nickel sulphate plant.

The proposed energy park will mark the inception of the lithium-ion battery value chain in Zimbabwe. This will see the country being among the world producers of lithium-ion batteries, while contributing to the growth of a resilient clean global energy economy.

What's Your Reaction?

like

dislike

love

funny

angry

sad

wow