Sallomy Matare and Blessings Chidakwa
Government is targeting more than 20 million tonnes of coal per year within the next four years, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando has said.
Minister Chitando said the target is realistic as Government is working out feasible mechanisms that will inclusively result in a $12 billion mining industry.
Addressing delegates at the recent Rural District Council Chairpersons’ Indaba in Victoria Falls, the minister said for the country to achieve its Vision 2030 of being a middle-income economy, the mining industry will be the backbone.
“We have targeted a 100 tonnes per annum of gold. We are not being over ambitious, but it will be done, by 2023 we will be producing over 20 million tonnes of coal in this country on the back of export markets which will be firmed up in the next two months and that will be achieved,” he said.
However, if the 20 million coal output is to be achieved, Zimbabwe needs a collective approach as this year coal production plunged by 38,2 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year.
As part of boosting coal production, Makomo Resources, the biggest coal mining company by output, recently implored ZESA Holdings to consider capacitating local coal miners so that they produce more coal to preserve the scarce foreign currency and create more jobs.
The call follows the announcement by acting ZESA chief executive Engineer Patrick Chivaura that the only way out of the current electricity generation and supply bottlenecks would be to import more power. Eng Chivaura said Zimbabwe required US$20 million to import 600MW of electricity per month.