Zimbabwe’s largest coal miner by output, Makomo Resources, has become the biggest supplier of coal to Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) following intermittent operational problems facing other suppliers, an executive has said.
BY NDAMU SANDU
ZPC runs the Hwange thermal power plant, the second largest power generation unit in the country.
ZPC also runs small thermal power plants in Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati, which also get coal from Makomo.
The coal miner has a contract of supplying 60 000 tonnes a month to ZPC, but of late has been supplying double that amount, operations manager, Kuda Nyabonda told NewsDay during a tour of the mine on Monday.
The order from ZPC can go as high as 150 000 tonnes, he said.
Last week, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa applauded Makomo for supplying coal to ZPC to ensure continuous generation of electricity at the thermal power plant.
The miner has a monthly output of 160 000 tonnes.
At its peak, output was 180 000 tonnes.
Nyabonda said output was per order, as the company has no model of stockpile due to the need to manage cashflows.
“Whatever the market demands, we impart that into our mining plans on monthly basis,” he said.
In the region, Makomo exports to Zambia and Malawi.
“Locally, we have managed to secure all end users, though some of the coal goes through merchants,” he said, adding that users of coal have used Makomo coal.
Nyabonda said the company was getting inquiries on coking coal from coke batteries.
The prices of coking coal went on a decline beginning September 2015, but have begun an ascent.
Makomo is mining in Entuba coalfields and the mine has been in operation for the past six years.
The size of the concession is 7 000 hectares.
The mine has a lifespan of 25 years.
Nyabonda said the miner was focusing more on energy generation instead of output and had resolved to make coal products that suit specific customer needs.
The company has over 400 employees and is currently the only coalminer operating in the country.
Some of the indigenous-owned companies are not operating constantly.
The challenges facing other coal miners come as Chidakwa said last week 85 companies had applied for coal mining concessions in Matabeleland North.
Chidakwa, however, ruled that not all the applicants would be granted operating licences, as he has to balance between the environment and miners.
The coal mining town, which also had reserves of coal-bed methane gas, is surrounded by the country’s biggest game park — Hwange National Park.
The challenges facing other coal miners comes as the Ministry of Mines is working on a raft of measures to ensure the safety of workers in coal mines.
Last year, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy toured the coal mining firms to ascertain the problems they were facing, but the findings are yet to be disclosed.
Zimbabwe has installed power capacity of 2 100 megawatts (MW), but is currently generating an average of 1 300MW and meeting the difference through imports from the region.
As of yesterday, Harare and Munyati stations were not generating anything, according to ZPC.