Essar Africa Holdings and the Government of Zimbabwe have set up a new mining entity called NewZim Minerals (NZM).

The new firm will explore and develop Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company mining assets including the Ripple Creek Iron Ore Mine in Redcliff, its limestone deposits and the Mwanesi iron ore deposit.

Essar Africa, which holds an 80% stake in NZM, will provide funding for a full testing programme to establish the quantity and quality of the ore, including its beneficiation properties and the latest technologies.

Based on the result of the techno-economic feasibility report for the project, Essar will also provide $3.5bn for the construction of a large-scale beneficiation project and related infrastructure.

The exploration, technology assessment and testing programme of the project will require a $100m investment in the first 18 months of work.