HWANGE Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) has received part of the machinery for underground mining operations and production is expected to commence in the last quarter of the year, managing director, Thomas Makore, has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
In a Press statement on Sunday, Makore said the strategic turnaround of HCCL was gathering momentum, with the coal mining giant receiving one of the key machines for its underground mining operations on Sunday.
He said the delivery of the coal extraction machine, the continuous miner, was a major “milestone”.
“Underground mining is where we produce high value coking coal, so it will be a good addition to our product mix. It will improve our profitability and add to our volumes,” Makore said.
He said delivery of the other machines was expected in the next six weeks.
“Barring any delays, production is expected to commence in the last quarter of the year. Underground mining operations will enhance the product mix offering of Hwange Colliery, thereby, improving the overall profitability and quality of the revenue,” Makore said.
Hwange Colliery’s export quality coking coal will contribute to the company’s foreign currency revenues, he said.
Work at the underground mine stopped last year after the major mining equipment, the continuous miner, broke down.
The underground mining reserves have the best quality coal and a much longer life to ensure the mine’s going concern status.
The continuous miner has been used at the underground mine for the past 10 years and about $6,3 million is needed to rehabilitate this strategic equipment. Hwange Colliery also needs about $20 million for the refurbishment of one of its strategic units, the coke oven battery.
Makore said the turnaround strategy was anchored on increasing production and sales, as it takes advantage of the recently approved scheme of arrangement.
He said the company will continue on this path to make sure that it turns its fortunes and builds on its rich legacy of successful and sustainable operations for over 115 years.
Recently, HCCL selected a European company to conduct exploration and drilling at its new concession in the western areas of Hwange.
Makore said the company has finished the selection process and was finalising the contract. The new concession has an estimated underground resource of about one billion tonnes, according to preliminary reports.