President gives nod to Chiredzi fertiliser plant 

Source: President gives nod to Chiredzi fertiliser plant | The Herald 29 JAN, 2019

President gives nod to Chiredzi fertiliser plantPresident Mnangagwa

From George Maponga in Masvingo
Work on the $750 million fertiliser plant in Chiredzi is set to start soon after President Mnangagwa approved the project that is set to add impetus to the ongoing thrust to revive the economy.

The plant will convert coal extracted from the vast Mkwasine coalfields into fertiliser, with an aggregate annual production of about 520 000 tonnes.

Mining of coal at the state-owned Mkwasine fields has already started, and the project will be undertaken through a joint venture between Verify Engineering, which falls under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, and a Canadian firm Mcgor Consortium.

Higher and Tertiary Education , Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira on Sunday said President Mnangagwa has given his seal of approval to the landmark project.

“It is now all green (good to go), His Excellency President Mnangagwa signed the necessary papers approving the joint venture, so everything is now in place for the coal-to-fertiliser project to kick-off, the papers were signed (by President Mnangagwa) in December, so everything is now in place.”

“The Mkwasine coalfields are owned by us (Government through Verify Engineering) and mining of coal is already in full swing and sizeable stocks of coal have already been extracted in Chiredzi.

“We had planned to officially launch the start of coal mining, only for some challenges to delay them, but we are good to go,” he said.

Prof Murwira expressed optimism that everything was in place for successful implementation despite apparent delays.

“The pace in implementing this project might not have been what is expected, but we are raring to go and we are on course and trying to kick-start it in a different way, the lights are green,” said Prof Murwira.

The Cabinet Minister said Government was pursuing a new thrust where education must engender industrialisation as Zimbabwe forges ahead with plans to transform into an upper-middle income economy by 2030.

If opened, the planned Mkwasine fertiliser plant will be the first of its kind in Zimbabwe that will produce ammonium nitrate fertiliser by converting it from coal. Government first announced plans to open the coal-to-fertiliser plant in Chiredzi last year.

Zimbabwe uses about 320 000 tonnes of fertiliser per annum and the country has been spending millions of dollars in hard currency to import the commodity and to meet local demand.

The country will be in a position to export fertiliser after the opening of the Chiredzi plant that will surpass annual local requirements by more than 200 000 tonnes.