‘Hwange has enough capacity’

Hwange Colliery Company (HCCL) is incurring huge losses after the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) stopped buying coal from the mine last year for their thermal power station in the town.

It also emerged the thermal power station, which is operating with two units instead of six, has stockpiles of coal to produce enough electricity for the entire country for the forthcoming winter season without load-shedding.

This was revealed by the general managers of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and HCCL, at a Press conference in Hwange on Wednesday soon after a closed-door meeting with ZPC officials.

ZPC officials snubbed the media.

“The meeting was about how to tackle high power demand in the country in the forthcoming winter season where electricity is also needed for the public and farmers in the tobacco industry, as well as for winter wheat and sugar plantations.

“We are trying to iron out the situation so that electricity will be adequate for the whole country,” said HCCL general manager Freddy Moyo.

He said at the moment, Hwange Thermal Power Station was no longer accepting coal from Hwange Colliery because of the piling reserves ZPC has in its stocks.

“This has affected our mining operations because the first layer of coal is what is prioritised for the thermal power station.

“As the situation stands, we cannot mine coal which is needed for industrial and domestic use because if we stockpile coal, it will burn, reacting to environmental forces,” said Moyo.

He said the situation has made HCCL accrue huge financial loses although he could not be drawn into giving figures.

“It is a pity that our colleagues from ZPC are not here. But there is enough coal to supply all thermal power stations in Bulawayo, Munyati, and Harare,” the HCCL boss said.

“However, ZPC will meet us next week so that we can push a little more coal to other thermal power stations.

“This is a common move to resolve challenges before us which we believe can alleviate the problem of power shortages.”

NRZ general manager Mike Karakadzai said the railway company and HCCL have the capacity to move coal to all thermal power stations in the country.

“If NRZ transports coal to thermal power stations, it will be cheaper and it will scale down electricity charges.

“Huge savings will be made at industrial and domestic levels. This will see competitive prices prevail at the local, regional and international markets.”

Karakadzai said transporting coal by rail would also save the road network in the country from extreme damage.

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