By Oscar Nkala
Zimbabwean coal producer Hwange Colliery Company Limited says it is exploring new coal markets in Zambia, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of a new strategy to shore up foreign currency earnings.
Company secretary Allen Masiya told local media that the struggling miner is looking for new underground mining equipment to boost production to volumes that are sufficient enough to cater for new markets.
“The company is seeking to develop and secure new coal export markets in Zambia, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, so that it can finance the importation of inputs, including spare parts and explosives,” Masiya said.
He said the first phase of the underground mine should be operating at full capacity by mid-year following the resumption of limited-scale operations in December last year.
HCCL collapsed into a loss-making venture as Zimbabwe’s economic crisis worsened in the past decade-and-a-half, and has struggled to remain afloat since then.
Prior to the Zimbabwean economic and political crises, HCCL used to export high-grade coal and coal fines products to regional markets that include the DRC, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Botswana.
Presently, HCCL is concentrating on mining lower value thermal and industrial coals, with minimal exploitation of higher value coking and thermal coals.