- July 13, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Progress on the development of coking coal projects in Hwange District is being slowed down by the Covid-19 pandemic as equipment and skills needed to implement the projects are locked-down outside the country.
Some of the companies developing coking coal plants told Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando during a recent tour of their plants that the global pandemic has stalled progress on their investments.
The fact-finding mission on the operations of the colliery companies also saw Minister Chitando being accompanied by his Finance portfolio counterpart Professor Mthuli Ncube.
The two government officials visited five firms namely Afrochine’s subsidiary Dinson Colliery, Zimbabwe ZhongXin Coking Company, Jinan Coke Plant Project, South Mining Coking Coal Project, and Zambezi Gas.
In separate briefings to the two ministers, officials from the companies stressed how Covid-19 had impacted on their operations.
Dinson Colliery general manager Mr. Frank Gao said progress on the development of their coking coal plant had been put in hold due to the adverse impact of Covid-19.
“We have since stopped operations because most of our skills required to do the engineering work at the plant here are locked-down in China. We are not certain as to when things will normalise. Also, we have plant equipment that is supposed to be brought here for the project but we cannot ship it because of the lockdown, so the project is slowed down,” he said.
The government has identified the coal mining industry as one of the major minerals with the potential to contribute towards the US$12 billion mining industry economy by 2023.
South Mining general manager Mr. Chenji Li said his company was the only entity producing Ferro-silicone chrome in the country.
“We have suspended most of our projects which include coke and coking plants because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are also establishing a thermal power plant from the coal concession we secured from the government and all such projects are on hold because of Covid-19,” he said.
Zambezi Gas operations director Engineer Menard Makota aid his organisation as a coal producer was operating at low capacity because of low coal uptake in the market.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us mainly as some customers like Zimasco, South Mining have slowed down the uptake of coal and some have closed down.
“But most importantly, there are delays in the shipment of equipment, for instance, the shipment of equipment for our second pit is in the waters (parked), so we have already started doing the letters to have the clearing sooner,” he said.
Meanwhile, a majority of the coal processors are now opting to mine their own raw materials citing depressed supply from Hwange Colliery Company, Zambezi Gas, Makomo Resources, and Galpex.
This article first appeared in the July 2020 issue of Mining Zimbabwe Magazine