Hwange looking at coalfields in the southern lowveld; targeting 500 000t/m production

Thomas Makore  1 (2)

Hwange managing director Thomas Makore

COAL miner, Hwange Colliery plans to ramp up production to 500 000t per month from the current 300 000t, following the recent commissioning of equipment worth $31.2mln, Hwange managing director Thomas Makore has said. Makore said Hwange will also spend $10mln in recapitalizing its underground mining operations this year. “We are excited with the new equipment that we just commissioned because it will make a big impact on our production.

Before the commissioning of the new equipment, our production was not consistent because our equipment is aged, our fixed plant is very aged, and it also needs replacement. We were producing 100 000t on our own on a good month, while our contract miner, Mota-Engil produced 200 000t, so all together we were producing 300 000t.

The impact of the new equipment will be felt starting from July 2015 while the additional drilling equipment from Revathi of India was delivered on June 26 and is currently being commissioned.

“We are going to ramp up now to 250 000t from our open cast mine which will be complemented by 200 000t from Motor Engine. We are analyzing recapitalizing underground operations which will be in the region of $10mln. As we recapitalize our underground mine, we expect to do upwards of 50 000t which will add up to 500 000t a month,” he said.

Makore said the firm is also looking at exporting excess coal into the region and beyond. “The outlook is that we will have enough product for the market, we will also export the excess product into the region to countries like Zambia, DRC and South Africa. Depending on the pricing, we would also like to export overseas to India and even to Europe,” he said.

The MD said Hwangwe is still awaiting advice on the scope and funding required to for its coke oven battery from the consultant. He also said the company is finalizing contracts on the 3 Main Underground Mine which will be done through vendor financing.

Makore said the firm and progressed the balance sheet restructuring exercise with the Government having approved the conversion of the $78 mln ZIMRA debt to equity through a structured rights issue. The exercise is being pushed by Brainworks Capital. He said the company was on the verge of being officially awarded the Western Areas Coalfield that it had been battling to secure for over a decade.

“The concession will go a long way in enhancing the life of mine.” There is a possibility that the company will have to go to tender for a technical and financial joint venture partner for this project.” The company had also identified some coal deposits in the southern lowveld of the country and is currently conducting technical feasibility for possible acquisition.

“This part of the country is strategic because of its proximity to the South African market and ports of Beira and Maputo.” Directors fees were fixed at $316 552 while Auditors fees were approved at US$155 340. -FinX