Hope for locals as Ruto opens Sh45 billion Devki steel mill in Kwale
After almost three years in the works, Devki Steel Mills has operationalized a Kes45 billion raw steel plant in Samburu, Kinango, Kwale County.
The mega factory is billed to give a facelift to one of the country’s poorest regions and ease local manufacturers’ access to industrial steel at more competitive prices.
The factory, whose commissioning was presided over by President William Ruto, is East Africa’s pioneer virgin steel production plant that will utilise locally sourced iron ore.
According to Devki Group chairman Narendra Raval, the steel factory boasts an annual production capacity of one million steel tonnes of and is expected to create about 15,000 direct jobs and 9,000 more in the product’s entire supply chain.
Dr Raval termed the factory a game changer for the region, capable of meeting East Africa’s raw steel needs, which are estimated at 500,000 tonnes a year.
“Kenyan steel factories rely on industrial steel product imports as well as scrap metal to manufacture TMT bars, steel tubes, angles bars, barbed wire nails among others,” said Dr Raval.
“Only South Africa has an industrial raw steel production plant and our plan is to give Kenya steel products manufacturers cheaper access to industrial raw steel,” he added.
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The steel will be used in the production of a variety of products such as billets, wire rods and TMT bars.
Dr Ruto lauded the project for “elevating Kenya to the global value chain” in addition to supporting his government’s infrastructure, manufacturing and affordable housing development projects to transform the lives of millions of Kenyans.
“We are laying out a roadmap that will revive the iron and steel industry, elevating Kenya to the global value chain,” said the President.
The factory will operate blast furnace technology for main steel manufacturing utilising internally generated power from a company power station that generates 55MW of clean energy from the heat released from its kilns in the factory.
“We are also expanding on wind power. That is also green energy to make Kenya environmentally friendly. It will be the first company in Africa that will be producing 65MW of wind power by end of next year,” Dr Raval added.
Dr Raval urged the government to support local steel industry by imposing heavy taxes on imported steel that is otherwise produced locally.
“This will end the shortage of foreign exchange in the country,” he said.