MATABELELAND North-based coal miner, Zambezi Gas, has ramped up production to above 200,000 tonnes per month from less than 100,000 tonnes underpinned by continued investment in mining equipment.
The colliery’s chief executive officer Mr. Thomas Nherera said due to improved output, they are now exporting in the region to countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, and Botswana.
“We are now producing upwards of 200,000 tonnes of coal per month from under 100,000 tonnes.
“We are attributing the improvement in production to investment in more machinery which has seen us increase our efficiency in the past few months,” he said.
Recently, Zambezi Gas announced a US$15 million mining machinery investment.
Zambezi Gas began coal mining activities in the Hwange district in 2014 with an output of 20,000 tonnes per month.
Three years ago, the colliery secured a 25-year mining license to undertake mining operations at its Entuba concession, which cover 19,200 hectares with more than 200 million tonnes of coal reserves.
Mr. Nherera said Zambezi Gas would continue increasing production levels as long as there is a demand for their coal.
“We are increasing our production from time to time and our target depends on the market.
“When we have a wider market like at the moment, there is a market to DRC, Zambia and at times to Botswana, we will endeavour to increase our production to meet coal demand,” he said.
Mr. Nherera would not be drawn into revealing the volumes of their coal exports as he was not in the office and thus could not provide such details off hand but said Zambezi Gas is supplying regional customers in different sectors such as agriculture and industry.
Locally, the mining firm also supplies coal to the Zimbabwe Power Company, tobacco sector, domestic and industrial customers as well as public institutions such as hospitals.
Currently, Zambezi Gas is undertaking opencast mining operations and would be embarking on underground operations at the “appropriate time”.
“When we are still getting the coal on the surface, there is no need to rush underground.
“Underground mining comes at a point when you are no longer getting sufficient coal on the open cast, so our opencast pit still has a lot of coal that we are mining and we’ll be going underground at the appropriate time,” said Mr. Nherera.
In 2007, the government issued Zambezi Gas a special grant for the coal concession.
This article first appeared in the Mining Zimbabwe June 2020 Issue