Brawling coal mining entities Makomo Resources and Zambezi Gas and Coal Mine have been given up to the end of this month to resolve their differences, which have resulted in the latter being barred from transporting its produce passing through the former concession.
The two miners are key suppliers of coal to ZESA’s thermal power stations in Hwange and both have drawn expansion projects that are set to feed into Government 2023 strategy towards energy self-sufficiency and venturing into the export market.
Despite the two being indigenously owned in an industry that has seen huge foreign investment in line with the Government’s strategy to lure Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as a means to kick start the economy, they have been continuously quarrelled and just last year had been at loggerheads over large swaths of coal claims
The claims dispute has, however, been resolved and awarded to Makomo Resources.
In the latest brawl, Zambezi Gas and Coal Mine operations director Engineer Menard Makota told the President that they are being denied access to an “obvious route” that will see them travelling just 10km from their plant to deliver coal at Zesa’s thermal power station in Hwange as the route passes through Makomo Resources’ concession.
As a result, Engineer Makota said they are using a longer route that is 54km away from the power station, thus ballooning their transport bill.
However, President Mnangagwa who was in Hwange on a two-day working visit of coal projects last week warned that the Government was giving the two parties up to the end of the month to amicably resolve their differences, failure of which he will intervene and resolve the dispute in a flush.
President Mnangagwa reminded the duo that their concessions are State land and if they don’t act reasonably, the Government will be forced to intervene.
“There is one issue which I was going to resolve immediately but I was told (by Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando) you are going to resolve it by yourself,” said the President.
“Zambezi Gas and Coal and Makomo you are brothers and sisters, don’t quarrel.
“The coal belongs to the State, it doesn’t belong to you.
“I understand you don’t allow the people to pass through here; I was going to resolve it then they told me no you are discussing, you are going to resolve it.
“Please do (resolve), but if you fail I will come in and I will resolve it in three exact minutes, three,” warned the President.
Earlier on, Minister Chitando had advised that the companies were sitting on a 31 July deadline to resolve their dispute.
“The other challenge which you mentioned, we have given you by the 31st of July that you should have resolved,” said Minister Chitando.