Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
MATABELELAND North-based colliery, Zambezi Gas, plans to venture into underground mining operations before the end of the year as it increases output.
The coal producer last year secured a mining licence to run for the next 25 years and is involved in open cast mining operations. Chief executive, Mr
Thomas Nherera, said his firm has an annual output of 840 000 tonnes and intends to increase it.
“At present because of the rains being experienced, our monthly production ranges between 60 000 tonnes and 70 000 tonnes. Going forward into the year we intend to venture into underground mining to increase our production in relation to demand for our product,” he said.
The coal miner is focused on improving output to 150 000 tonnes per month. Zambezi Gas began coal mining in 2014 producing a monthly output of about 20 000 tonnes.
Mr Nherera said they were developing their exports penetrating markets in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. Locally, Zambezi Gas supplies coal and coking coal to institutions such as hospitals, the Zimbabwe Power Company, tobacco farmers and foundries dotted across the country. The company employs between 50 and 70 people permanent employees and several others through contract arrangement as well as more in the downstream industries.
Zambezi Gas was granted special gas and coal concessions by the Government in 2003 and 2007 respectively. The special gas licence allows the firm to explore for coal-bed methane gas in Matabeleland North. For the special gas licence, Zambezi Gas has scaled down exploration for coal-bed methane gas as its extraction requires a lot of financial resources. Its concession at Ethuba covers 19 000 hectares with more than 200 million tonnes of coal reserves.