ZAMBEZI Gas and Coal Mine is targeting to double production output to 200 000 tonnes from 100,000 tonnes per month while plans are underway to open an underground mine. The company has been awarded a licence to venture into energy generation with a 750MW power station on the cards.
Zambezi Gas has grown to become one of the top coal producers since it began its operations following the awarding of a Special Grant in 2017. Last week the company held a ground breaking ceremony for its Northern pit for work to begin at its underground site, which was officiated by the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa.
Zambezi Gas and Coal Mine is a wholly indigenous owned company, which has over 200 million tonnes of coal reserves covering 8 000ha of land. It is one of the fastest growing coal mines in the country with potential for more value addition and exports.
Speaking during the ceremony, the company’s operations director, Engineer Menard Makota, said production will be increased to 200 000 tonnes per month with an underground mine set to open.
“When we began coal mining operations way back in 2017, we targeted a monthly production of 60 000t, which we increased over the next two years to 100 000t. Now we want to double that tonnage to 200 000t per month and this event serves as a confirmation of our undertaking,” he said. “We pride ourselves in that we use experts in each field to ensure world-class standards and efficiency. Zambezi Gas’ current operations consist of an open pit, which we call the Southern pit as well as a coal washing and processing plant. “The Northern pit capacity is 100 000 tonnes and will lead to the opening of underground portals. The first section of the underground will target 60 000t per month of coking coal before ramping up to 80 000 tonnes,” said Eng Makota.
He paid tribute to the Government for its efforts to grow the economy by stabilising the macro-economic fundamentals through the forex auction system and reviewing forex retention rate from 50 percent to 70 percent. “We are not going to wait for external funding but will make use of internal ones while we source so that we realise the vision behind this company,” said Eng Makota.
The company employs 450 workers and expects to produce 150MW in the first phase of the power project by 2024, which will be followed by 600MW in 2027.
Officiating at the event Minister Mutsvangwa said the President Mnangagwa’s vision of attaining the US$12 billion mining target by 2023 was in sight. “I’m quite impressed by what is happening here hardly five months after our visionary leader President ED Mnangagwa came to this area a lot has happened,” she said.
“We have always talked about our Diasporans and how they are important in growing the economy of our country and today we have just witnessed that here. This is what we need to tell the world, Zimbabwe which used to import coal is beginning to have local production, which is sufficient and soon to be exporting.
The country expects to generate up to 5 000MW by 2025 and be a net exporter of electricity.
The minister paid tribute to the private sector for working closely with the Government. Mines and Mining Development Minister, Winston Chitando, commended the company’s efforts saying Zambezi Gas was now one of the largest coal producers.
The company plans to construct a coking plant in the next two years as part of value addition while construction on the 750MW thermal power station is set to begin next year.
Minister Mutsvangwa was accompanied by her Energy and Power Development counterpart, Zhemu Soda and Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Richard Moyo. Zesa board chairperson, Dr Sydney Gata, traditional leaders, service chiefs and corporate partners were present.