Construction of Zimbabwe’s first factory for manufacturing mining explosives by Intrachem is now complete in Kwekwe and with a significant fraction of raw materials coming from nearby Sable Chemicals imports of close to US$20 annually will be replaced by local production from next month.
At full throttle, the plant is poised to supply all the explosives needed by the local mining industry replacing imports from South Africa and Peru.
The setting up of Intrachem started at the birth of the Second Republic in 2018 as external investment became possible under the new dispensation.
Speaking after the tour of the plant, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza yesterday said the country was spending over $4 billion on imports and the Second Republic has since crafted the National Industrial Policy to ensure there was more local production.
“We consume too much from outside and the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa is determined to cut on this. This is why we are here to see progress on our very new plant so that we reduce the country’s mining explosives import bill,” she said.
Dr Nzenza said the Second Republic was working on import substitution in all sectors of the economy and the coming in of Intrachem was important for the mining sector which has been relying on importing explosives.
“As a country we have been importing all our explosives requirements from South Africa and Peru. So the coming in of Intrachem will be a game changer and Government will give the company much needed support as we seek to implement our import substitution vision,” she said.
Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Larry Mavima said the coming in of Intrachem in the province will help improve the provincial gross domestic product.
“We have a lot of mining activities in the province and the coming in of this new company is very important and a testimony to the works of the new dispensation in turning around the economy. “The President is very clear about his vision 2030 and the fact that we have such an important company in the very shortest time shows we are in the right direction as a country in as far as our economy is concerned. It also means our GDP will improve as a province when Intrachem starts production,” he said.
Intrachem chief executive, Mr Langton Nyandoro said the engineers were now conducting test runs of the plant with production expected to start at the commissioning next month.
“We broke the ground in October 2018 after we managed to get an international investor under the Second Republic. We were inspired by the new Government administration’s National Industrial Policy which seeks to cut on imports so we chose the explosives industry,” he said.
Mr Nyandoro said the company will in future work on expanding the plant with the view of satisfying the local market.
He said the choice to set up the plant in the Midlands was strategic and deliberate since there were a lot of mining in the province.
“We have a lot of mining activities in the Midlands and around the country so thus why we came to the Midlands. Country currently export all the explosives requirements so thus why we are coming in to close this gap,” he said.
Mr Nyandoro said most of the raw materials for the manufacturing explosives will be sourced locally at Sable Chemicals on the outskirts of Kwekwe.
“We however, have some few raw materials we will be importing so we will be liaising with the Government so that we get exemption on duty so that our prices will become competitive with the imports,” he said.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando toured the factory last month and said that the plant on completion will save the country close to US$20million annually.