Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando, has nominated six people Government wants appointed into the Hwange Colliery Company board. The nomination came at a time when Government is working towards resuscitating the 119-year-old coal miner, which is confronted with a myriad of problems, chief among them mining equipment challenges.
In a statement Minister Chitando said Government will now follow the requisite procedure to ratify the six’s appointment to the board.
“Government has announced the following nominees to the Hwange Colliery board, the necessary paperwork and procedures will be done to give effect to these appointments of Government representatives to the Hwange Colliery Board,” said Minister Chitando.
“And the names are as follows: Allan Mashingaidze, Anna Kunda, Flora Ngwenya, Edward Mazorodze, Roger Williams and Valentine Vera.
“Allan Mashingaidze is a well-known personality in the mining industry who has worked for Falcon, Metallon (and) RioZim.
“Anna Kunda is a lawyer, born and bred in Hwange, Flora Ngwenya worked for Hwange Colliery for over 20 years, Edward Mazorodze has worked all his life in the mining industry mainly with the RioZim group.
“Roger Williams has been a director of Union Carbide and Zimasco for years, Valentine Vera has been on the board of Hwange Colliery for over 10 years and is a principal director in the Ministry of Mines,” said Minister Chitando.
The coal miner has been struggling to return to profitability over the years and early this month during the 46th Kamandama disaster commemorations the company announced plans to upscale production to 300 000 tonnes of coal per month beginning this June.
A $352 million debt, however, continues to weigh heavily on the company which entered into a Scheme of Arrangement as it sought to get some breathing space to conjure a recovery.
Government has insisted that all its mining assets should not only return to profitability, but should operate at optimum level to meet President Mnangagwa’s target of Zimbabwe becoming an upper middle income country by 2030.
Addressing the media in Harare early this month, Minister Chitando, however, assured that the country was not anywhere near experiencing coal shortages due to problems at Hwange that could in turn affect the country’s power generation.
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) was, sometime last year, forced to scale down generation at its Hwange plant as well as shutting down Munyati, Bulawayo and Harare stations due to unavailability of coal.
Minister Chitando said it is instead, envisaged that the country’s coal production will rise from the current 2 million tonnes per year to about 10 million tonnes per year over the next three years and thus see the resumption of coal exports.
“On the coal side at the moment the big players we have, Hwange Colliery, Liberation Mining, Zambezi Gas —which is ramping up production from around 30 000 tonnes a month to over 200 000 tonnes a month, then we also have Monaf Investment who will be operating around the Binga area and also Makomo,” said Minister Chitando early this month.
“These five, have more than sufficient capacity to meet Zimbabwe’s coal needs, even more than sufficient.
“Last year the production of coal in the country was around 2 million tonnes and the projection is that in the next three years it will go up to around 10 million tonnes, which will more than satisfy the coal needs of the country and will also benefit the export market,” he said.