A new coal mine owned by Chinese and local investors has started operations in Hwange, Zimbabwe after an investment of nearly US $12m in the mine.
Chilota Colliery began operations late last year and is now producing 30,000 tonnes of coking coal per month used to produce coke; the high quality fuel needed by smelters. According to Chilota director Mr David Zhou, the colliery is producing 30,000 tonnes of coking coal and about 30,000 tonnes of thermal coal for Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), which they are producing at Chaba Mines under a contract mining arrangement with Hwange Colliery.
The colliery has also deployed some of its equipment to Hwange Colliery Company, the country’s oldest coal mine where it is producing thermal coal under a mining contract.
Coal mining in Zimbabwe
Coal remains the dominant energy mineral for Zimbabwe and the country boasts of vast reserves of coal particularly in the north-west and southern parts of the country. The investments in Hwange are expected to boost the country’s prospects of meeting mining revenue targets under the US $12bn mining roadmap launched by President Mnangagwa, of which the coal sector is expected to contribute US $1bn.
ZPC has previously claimed inadequate supplies of coal by the miners was threatening the country’s power generation and wanted to produce its own coal for guaranteed supplies. With the coming in of stage 7 and 8, ZPC said it was concerned that the existing miners might fail to adequately provide feed stock for the expanded power station. Apart from Hwange, ZPC also operates three small power plants in Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo.
In the past few years, the Government has granted 28 special grants to prospective coal miners, but only three are being utilised. The government has persistently indicated that it will repossess unproductive mining claims to pave way for new players.
Chilota Colliery joins three other companies namely: Hwange Colliery Company, the country’s oldest coal mine, Makomo Resources and Zambezi Gas; as one of the coal players in Hwange District.