Hwange production threatened

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Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL)’s major mining equipment, a dragline, has broken down nearly paralysing production of coal at the mine.

HCCL general manager Fred Moyo confirmed the breakdown of the machine and said over $200 000 was needed for its repair in South Africa.

“The dragline operates with six generator sets and the number two set for digging has broken down,” he said.

“Last time we had problems with the number one set which picks coal.

“We are making efforts to activate clearing agents and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for the seven-tonne load to be taken to South Africa for repairs.

“Engineers in South Africa have told us that we could have the machine back in two weeks,” said Moyo, adding that repairs alone would require $110 000 while transportation and other expenses could bring the figure to around $200 000.

But Moyo said as a contingency measure, they were readjusting the whole mining plan to avoid creating chronic coal shortages.

“We are going to remove all other equipment which worked around the dragline and redeploy it to other small mines and prioritise on the underground mining so that they up their coal production,” he said.

“We are also supposed to export coal and we were loading a train daily to Maputo.

“Exports should be honoured because we can accrue heavy fines.”

The problem came hard on the heels of reported huges losses by HCCL after the Zimbabwe Power Company recently stopped buying coal from the mine for their thermal power station in the town.

The thermal power station, which is operating with two units instead of six, had enough stockpiles of coal.