Hwange invites bids for methane gas exploration

Business Reporter
HWANGE Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) has invited bidders to conduct methane gas exploration at its Lubimbi coalfields as it moves to diversify its operations.

The new venture is part of the company’s turnaround strategy aimed at increasing earnings on the back of a tight liquidity environment and repeated financial losses.

“The company now wishes to diversify its business by venturing into coal bed methane gas production,” said the company in a notice on Sunday.

It has since invited qualified and interested bidders with technical and financial capacity to submit applications for carrying out exploration and drilling activities at Lubimbi.

Bidders are required to “delineate coal bed methane and coal resources and reserves”.

The company says it intends to use the exploration statement to mobilise investment or capital for the project.

As such it has advised prospective bidders to come up with a “statement that is compliant to internationally recognised code of practice for coal bed methane”.

Exploration would be conducted on two areas covering 4,200ha and 10,995ha.

Hwange Colliery is a public company listed on the Zimbabwe, Johannesburg and London Stock Exchanges and is the largest operator in the business of exploring, mining, processing and marketing of coal, coke and related products.

It is located in Matabeleland North province in the western tip of the country.

Recently the giant parastatal reported its half year losses to September 2015 had widened by more than 90 percent to $15.6 million as sales plummeted.

Coal and coke sales were down 10 percent to 685,759 tonnes during the period under review resulting in an 11 percent decline in revenue to $35.3 million. Finance costs were flat on last year’s amount of $1.1 million while operating loss was $19.5 million from $7.6 million in the comparative prior period.

The firm, however, expects a positive turnaround following granting of additional coal concessions by the government and acquisition of new equipment under a $32 million recapitalisation package.

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