Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) says it hopes to produce at least 300 000 tonnes of coal per month from its open-cast operations this year.
The company has targeted production of more than the 2 750 000 tonnes it produced last year.
Management at the coal-mining concern said it was hopeful of meeting its target as it had managed to acquire new machinery.
Mine planning manager, Stanford Musengi, told State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo on Thursday last week that the company had put in place plans to improve its production.
“Our overheads are high. In 2010, we spent over $27 million in running and maintaining schools, houses, roads and a hospital.
“Production has been depressed mainly due to the age of the equipment. The dragline was commissioned in 1982 and most of the machinery was installed around that time. We need capital to rehabilitate equipment,” he said.
Moyo toured HCCL on Thursday and Zimbabwe Power Company’s Hwange Power Station on Friday.
Musengi said the company was facing challenges in rehabilitating the environment.
“In the last 10 years, virtually no meaningful rehabilitation has taken place at the open-cast mining operation. As a result we have accumulated 300 hectares of land that needs rehabilitation.
“We need $25 million to put up a water treatment plant to treat water and put it back into the supply circuit,” he said. Musengi, however, said the company had plans to expand.
“In terms of concessions, we are currently operating in Hwange area only. Coal is a non-renewable resource. It will run out. We need to look around and explore other areas. We have made applications for concessions. We need to diversify our business and we are mooting diversifying from coal and mining other minerals that can be found in Zimbabwe and outside.
“We are planning to borrow in order for us to re-capitalise our business. We are talking to a number of bankers, but at the moment the finance we have is short term,” he said.
He said the company was also planning on “right-sizing” to be effective.
Musengi said HCCL is planning on creating business synergies with the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).
“We are in touch with the NRZ and are considering refurbishing some of their wagons so that when they get back into the system, they will be dedicated to Hwange Colliery business. NRZ will also benefit from this.
“We also want to go into projects with Zesa in terms of generating power out of coal gas. Those are two companies that we need to engage to make our business move forward,” he said.