According to a statement from the Provincial Government of Cuando Cubango, to which VerAngola had access, the inauguration "symbolized the official start of production, which includes the first blast furnace of the four planned, to melt the ore that will be transformed into iron to be exported to countries such as the United States of America and some countries in Asia and Europe".
A private initiative by Companhia Siderúrgica do Cuchi (CSC), the project concerns the "first green iron production plant in the country and on the continent, using charcoal as a reducer in the ore smelting process and with advanced, sustainable and carbon-free with the use of raw materials extracted from the Cutato mine with an exploration time of up to 50 years", the note reads.
On the occasion, Rui Celso, president of the Board of Directors (PCA) of CSC, assured the necessary conditions for the "large-scale production of green iron and, in this first phase, 100 thousand tons per year, with an investment so far of 60 million of dollars."
The CSC PCA also made it known that the project integrated with Angolan and Brazilian shareholders has already allowed the production of more than 12 thousand tons of pig iron, which are in the Port of Namibe. It also created, said the official, approximately 1200 direct jobs, with the prospect of increasing this to 5000 jobs, "with the completion of the second phase, which includes the construction of the remaining three blast furnaces and other support infrastructures, which will allow us to increase production to more than 500 thousand tons of iron".
Rui Celso, quoted in the note, also said that they chose the municipality of Cuchi because it has "a good workforce, necessary resources" and is located close to the railway line.
The Minister of Industry and Commerce took the opportunity to highlight the "qualities of the province in various areas", having highlighted "that this is a new important battle for the economic development of the region".
The official also assured that the "Government chose the path of economic diversification as a means to guarantee the sustainable creation of employment, material and spiritual wealth and guarantee a better future for future generations and the steel plant project is the greatest proof of this commitment".
The governor of Cuando Cubango, José Martins, congratulated the initiative and took the opportunity to thank on behalf of the population, "for considering it an important step that responds to the challenges of the Angolan Government that have to do with the promotion of local production and the increased exports, the reintegration of ex-soldiers and their respective families, as well as the promotion of employability in the province", the note reads.
According to Angop, with this act, Angola officially becomes the fourth country in the world to export pig iron, joining the list made up of Brazil, Russia and Ukraine.
At the inauguration, the holder of the Industry and Commerce portfolio was accompanied by the governors of Cuando Cubango, José Martins, Huíla, Nuno Mahapi, as well as the project's mentor, General Higino Carneiro, the Ambassador of the Republic of Brazil in country, Rafael Mel Veigas, among others.
It should be recalled that at the beginning of last month, the Moçâmedes Railway carried out the transport of the first batch of pig iron production by CSC, with the train leaving Cuchi with 862 tonnes of ore bound for Namibe.