- January 7, 2021
- Posted in LOCAL
THE country’s second largest coal producer, Zambezi Gas is targeting to increase output to 200 000 tonnes next month on the back of a US$3 million investment in new opencast mining equipment.
Zambezi Gas, which is producing 100 000 tonnes per month from the existing opencast pit, commissioned the new mining equipment procured from China towards the end of last year.
The latest mining equipment comprises excavators, bull dozers, water bowsers, graders and dump trucks, among others.
Speaking by telephone yesterday, the colliery’s operations director Engineer Menard Makota said as part of the preparations to ramp up production to the projected output, they were in the process of removing overburden material from the northern pit (their second opencast pit).
“The equipment arrived and was commissioned in November last year. We are at the stage where we are now removing the overburden material at the site of the second opencast pit.
“We are hopeful that because of the latest equipment, our capacity has now improved by an additional 100 000 tonnes per month and in February we’ll be ramping up production to 200 000 tonnes per month,” he said.
“The second pit will also pave way for opening of underground mine planned later in the year.”
Zambezi Gas supplies coal locally to players in the agriculture sector like tobacco and sugarcane farmers, as well as hospitals and manufacturing companies in the food industry.
It supplies 60 percent of its output to the Zimbabwe Power Company’s four thermal power stations namely, Hwange, Bulawayo Munyati and Harare.
The Matabeleland North-based firm also has a strong footprint in the export market to the north supplying customers mainly in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The colliery, whose 10 percent of its existing production are exports, also has a market niche in Malawi and Mozambique.
Eng Makota said their operations had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as Zambezi Gas was to some extent failing to procure critical raw materials across the value chain.
“In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, you will find out that our operations have not been spared from the adverse effects of the contagion.
“For instance, although the mining industry has been classified as an essential service allowing it to remain operational during lockdown; some of our suppliers during lockdown are closed for business making it difficult for us to procure mining consumables.
“At the time when borders were closed, we couldn’t go outside the country for constant business meetings with our customers as well as to cultivate new customers in the export markets,” he said.
Zambezi Gas, which owns an 8 644 hectare concession in Entuba coalfields is a wholly-owned indigenous company with over 200 million tonnes of coal reserves.
The firm is also one of Zimbabwe’s fastest growing coal mining companies with potential for more beneficiation and exports_The Chronicle