Multi-billion coal-to-fuel project on track

Source: Multi-billion coal-to-fuel project on track | Sunday Mail

Sharon Munjenjema

GOVERNMENT and a Canadian investor have completed setting up a special purpose entity — Vectol Zimbabwe — to spearhead the much anticipated US$5,2 billion coal to fuel project in Lisulu, Hwange.

Information obtained by The Sunday Mail shows significant progress on the deal with offices for the joint venture company having been secured.

Government and Nkosikhona — a South Africa based front for Canadian engineering firm, Magcor International — signed the deal that is expected to see processing of coal into liquid fuels.

In an interview, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said a Chinese technical partner had also been secured for the venture.

“We formed the joint venture company which we have now registered in the name of Vectol Zimbabwe. It is a joint venture between Verify Engineering and Magcor Consortium. Offices have been secured in Borrowdale (Harare),” he said.

Prof Murwira said a subsidiary of Vectol Zimbabwe — Vectol Mining —had also been formed to conduct the actual mining.

He said the project now awaits full funding from the investor.

Prof Murwira said contrary to claims in certain quarters, the project was on track.

“As far as we are concerned, the project is on track and we are still within stipulated timelines,” he said.

“This is a long term venture which is self-financing and it is not practical to suggest we will get fuel, for example, in six months.

“That is not possible and we never made such promises, scandalous talk will not help our country.”

Like most Government projects in the second republic, the coal to fuel deal is premised on a Build-Operate-Transfer model.

Prof Murwira said the project was within the confines of Government’s newly adopted heritage-based innovation which will also result in infrastructure development.

“We have designed this project in such a way that it also provides 700 kilometres of tarred road every year,” he said.

“This idea stems from the fact that Zimbabwe has 26 billion tonnes of coal and this could easily be used to make fire or electricity only.

“We are saying coal as a hydro carbon is much more useful than that.

“We want to produce our own fuel from coal just like what Sasol does.

‘‘It reduces our import bill and increases our capability to be self-sufficient.”

The project is envisaged to produce about eight million litres of various forms of liquid fuels daily.

The country is estimated to be consuming around five million litres of various fuels daily.