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HCCL to revive coke oven battery, gas plant

Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) says plans are underway to refurbish and re-commission its defunct coke oven battery and gas plant as part of the company’s turnaround strategy.

Part of the infrastructure at Hwange Colliery
Part of the infrastructure at Hwange Colliery

The giant colliery hopes to consolidate its recovery mode through production of high value products with coking coal and gas being key for top-end domestic market and exportation to lucrative regional and international clients.

The collapse of Hwange Colliery’s coke battery in recent years had seen several new players invading the field, which means the company will now have to compete for supplies to key markets.

To buttress the rebound mode, which is evidenced by steady improvement in monthly output in 2020, HCCL has invited tenders from interested bidders to undertake the refurbishment of the coke battery and gas plant.

“As part of its turnaround plan, Hwange Colliery Company Limited intends to: 1. refurbish and commission the mothballed coke oven battery and coke oven gas plant and restore the coke oven gas supply pipe to Hwange Power Station, 2. Build a new recovery type coke oven battery on a design, procure, construct and commission basis,” said the firm in a public tender invitation notice.

“Hwange Colliery Company Limited, therefore, invites separate bids from capable bidders in respect of items 1 and 2 above.”

The company has said interested bidders should demonstrate financial and technical capabilities and expertise to provide the required services relating to construction of recovery type of coke oven batteries or similar plant and equipment.

Located in Matabeleland North province, HCCL is a public listed company operating in the business of exploring, mining, processing and marketing of coal, coke and related products.

Due to its strategic importance in the energy and power development sector, the Government rescued the firm from collapse by putting it under temporary administration in 2018. Prior to this, HCCL was in a state of collapse as creditors were swooping on it through a string of litigations. Workers had also gone for several months without pay.

During a visit to the mine by President Mnangagwa last year in July, acting managing director, Dr Charles Zinyemba, paid tribute to the Government for rescuing this company by putting it under administration.

With the interventions being implemented under the guidance of the Government, Dr Zinyemba has said production was expected to rise above 225 000 tonnes per month with plans to ramp it up even further.

HCCL has three mines, one underground mine and two open cast mines. These are underground Three Main Mine and two open cast mines, JKL and Chaba.

The three coal mine reserves are projected to last about 40 years at current mining rate, which could be reduced to 20 years should plans to increase underground mining sections to three succeed.

The coal sector is critical in achieving the US$12 billion mining sector milestone by 2023. The Chronicle