BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
THE Midlands State University (MSU) is planning to set up a coal tar manufacturing plant in Zvishavane in a bid to cut down on the importation of costly bitumen.
The university has already patented the modified coal tar product through the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation.
“The preliminary studies conducted revealed that there will be 40% saving on road surfacing costs as a result of this new product developed by MSU,” part of the project document read.
Zimbabwe imports bitumen from neighbouring South Africa for its road surfacing projects.
MSU acting pro-vice-chancellor in charge of research and academic affairs Alois Chiromo said Zvishavane was strategic as they would use fibre from asbestos dumpsites belonging to Shabanie and Mashaba Mines.
“Zvishavane is quite strategic because we have asbestos dumpsites with fibre readily available,” Chiromo said during a recent tour of the plant.
He said the new product would consist of 98% coal tar and 2% silicon nanoparticles.
Chiromo said the plant in Zvishavane would make nanoparticles raw materials that would be mixed with coal tar to produce modified coal tar at road construction sites.
MSU Zvishavane campus director Advice Viriri said the plant was envisaged to create over 2 000 jobs.
“We are looking at employment creation of 2 500 jobs in and around Zvishavane,” Viriri said.
He said the modified coal tar business venture would resuscitate the ailing Shabanie and Mashaba Mines and Zimchem Refineries.