Indian Firm to Start Coal Mining in Chiredziadmin
AN Indian firm, Steelmakers (Private) Limited, will soon start coal mining in Gudo communal lands in Chiredzi.
The area is believed to have an estimated 500 millions tonnes of coal.
The coal deposits cover over 2 500 hectares. Steelmakers will mine the mineral primarily for use at its Masvingo plant where the company manufactures sponge iron.
Feasibility studies at the new mine have been taking place over the past six months.
Steelmakers operations manager Mr Bade Prabhakar said they expected to start full-scale coal mining in the next month.
Mr Prabhakar said the anticipated lifespan of the mine was 100 years with initial monthly coal production expected to be 20 000 tonnes before significantly rising in relation to demand.
“We have completed feasibility studies and the estimated reserves of the coal deposits at this mine is 500 million tonnes which will take us 100 years to exhaust.
“We hope to start fully-fledged mining next month and we hope everything will be in place by then and our initial monthly production target is 20 000 tonnes,” said Mr Prabhakar.
He revealed that his company was going to venture into coal mining specifically for use at its Masvingo plant where it produces sponge iron.
Board approval was necessary for the company to go into commercial mining.
The Chiredzi coal was one of the best in the country as it was low in sulphur, making it ideal for the manufacture of liquid fuel.
Chiredzi could become a major producer within the next decade while another company — Verify Engineering — also on the verge of resuming coal mining at another site in Gudo communal lands.
Once fully operational, the Chiredzi coal mines were expected to go a long way in meeting the national coal demand which presently exceeds supply, with Hwange being the major producer of the “black stones that burn”.
Chiredzi is also believed to be home to vast deposits of diamonds and natural gas which have the potential of turning the district, better known for its sugar plantations, into a mining hub.
Mining experts yesterday revealed that although the presence of coal in Chiredzi was public knowledge, there was need for more exploration work to determine its suitability for different purposes.
“Coal deposits in Chiredzi are at the moment only known to be fit for general use such as firing boilers and further studies need to be done to determine whether it can be used for specialised purposes like for metallurgical purposes where coking coal is used and that coal at the moment is found at Hwange,” said a mining expert in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development who refused to be identified.
He also added that besides the question of quality, Chiredzi coal was discovered at a later date than those at Hwange.
There was also need for further exploration work to determine whether the Chiredzi deposits could sustain full-scale commercial production.