Universal Mining and Chemical Industries Limited is investing K70 billion into mining iron ore west of Kafue, says Dr Julius Kaoma. In a recent interview, Dr Kaoma, who is UMCIL Kafue Steel Plant executive technical director, said the mine would help reduce importation of steel into Zambia.
In the same light UMCIL sales manager Benjamin Belemu says a lot of steel being imported into Zambia is produced at Kafue Steel Plant. The steel finds its way back to Zambia after being exported to South Africa. Local steel merchants are more inclined to importing steel as opposed to sourcing it locally this is according to Mr Belemu.
“Scrap metal is in short supply, we are investing in iron ore 60 kilometres west of Kafue at Sanje hill, 15 kilometres east of Nampundwe Mine,” Dr Kaoma said.
He added that there was so much talk about Copper when Zambia had a lot of iron ore.
Dr Kaoma, who was in Livingstone for an international conference on infrastructure development and investment strategies for Africa, said the Kafue Steel Plant was now producing 120,000 tonnes of steel, more than half below its installed capacity of 250,000 tonnes.
And Belemu said UMCIL was in talks with the constructors of the Kazungula Bridge to use steel from Kafue on the bridge.
He added that the constructors of the bridge were surprised at the quality of the steel from Kafue.
“Some metal from Kafue is exported and it ends up being re-supplied back into the country. What is important is to meet on quality,” said Belemu, who, however, noted that some experts such as quantity surveyors were not helping the steel plant as they were not recommending steel from Kafue.