via Hwange Colliery to develop new mines | The Herald July 1, 2015
HWANGE Colliery Company Limited may consider a joint venture to develop new mines at Western Areas Coalfields in Hwange, its managing director, Mr Thomas Makore, said.
The country’s largest coal mining firm is “on the verge” of getting new concessions, which the company has been battling to secure during the past decade.
“Plans to commence exploration and mine development are being done vigorously,” Mr Makore told shareholders during the company’s annual general meeting yesterday.
“There is a possibility that the company will have to go to tender for technical and financial joint venture partners for the multimillion- dollar project.”
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said at the occasion to commission the company’s new equipment Government would release more concessions to HCCL.
The new coal concessions are expected to extend the lifespan of the company by up to 50 years.
Mr Makore also said there were some coal deposits in the Lowveld which the company identified and was currently conducting technical feasibility on for possible acquisition.
“This part of the country is strategic because of its proximity to the South African market and ports of Beira and Maputo,” said Mr Makore.
Mr Makore said the company has started deploying new equipment at its JKL open cast and “immediate impact on the company productivity is certain in the month of July 2015”.
The JKL open cast mine is expected to produce 250 000 tonnes per months from the current 100 000.
Hwange has terminated the mining contracts it had before the commissioning of the equipment, save for Mota-Engil which the company engaged for a five-year period starting in June last year. The Portuguese-based company has contractual obligations to mine and deliver 200 000 tonnes per month from Chaba open cast.
“To date, performance has been satisfactory save for cash challenges of serving the account.”
The increased coal production following the recapitalisation and Mota-Engil contract would be complemented by an aggressive customer diversification strategy.
This would entail meeting full domestic requirements and tap into regional and international markets.
Mr Makore said the company has identified “and is finalising the enabling contracts” for the supply of equipment for 3 Main underground, the source of coking coal.
The company is currently operating at about 30 percent capacity and the plan is to have two underground mining sections with monthly coking coal output of 100 000 tonnes.