Harare - China's Tsingshan Holding Group is set to start developing an iron ore mine and a carbon steel plant in Zimbabwe from May, the African country's information minister said late on Tuesday, three years after the firm first announced the investment deal. Tsingshan signed a $1 billion outline agreement with Zimbabwe in June 2018 to build a two million tonne-per-annum steel plant and has been carrying out exploration and seeking more mineral concessions. The Chinese company, through its Zimbabwean subsidiary Afrochine, already produces ferrochrome, which will also be used in the production of steel: "The ground breaking ceremony for the iron ore mine and carbon steel plant is scheduled for May 2021 in Manhize, Mvuma (south of Harare)" Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in a statement.
The government previously said Tsingshan would also build a power station and had been given a lithium concession. China has over the past few years emerged as a major foreign investor in Zimbabwe, with its firms mostly involved in mining of gold, chrome and diamonds and building power stations. Zimbabwe has set out an ambitious drive to increase revenue from mining to $12 billion by 2023 by increasing output of gold, platinum and diamonds, among other minerals. Last year, minerals earned the country $2.4 billion in exports.