Zimbabwe: New Coal Producer Mulls Electricity Power Generation

Zimbabwe: New Coal Producer Mulls Electricity Power Generation

COAL Zimbabwe, a new entrant in the coal mining industry says it has invested US$5,3 million in a mine in Chiredzi and plans to go into power generation in the near future.

The company, which is wholly owned by Steelmakers, a Redcliff-based steel manufacturer, says it ventured into mining in a bid to revive its Masvingo sponge iron plant which had been closed because it was not getting sufficient supplies from the Hwange Colliery Company.

So far the mining concern has produced 15 000 tonnes of coal since it opened a month ago and hopes to undertake an expansion programme that will help improve the country’s dwindling supplies.

“We had to close our Masvingo plant because we were not getting enough of coal supplies from Hwange Colliery Company. As a result we decided to go into coal production also as a way of reducing production costs,” Steelmakers’ group general manager, Alexander Johnson, told Standardbusiness.

Zimbabwe consumes 320 000 tonnes of coal a month but HCC has not been able to meet demand.

Johnson said it had already found a market for its product and had sold to a number of companies in Harare and Bulawayo.

He said there were also plans to increase production to 50 000 tonnes in the next six months when the company constructs washeries meant to improve the coal grade.

Johnson said tests conducted so far show that their coal was of “superior” grade with low sulphur and phosphate content.

He said the new mine based in the Mukuvisi area of Chiredzi should go into power generation in the future, subject to the approval of the board.

The plan could augment dwindling supplies from ZESA Holdings and avert a crisis.

“It’s at the back of our brains. I do not want to let the cat out of the bag but we should go into power generation in the future,” Johnson said.

Copyright © 2006 Zimbabwe Standard. All rights reserved.

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