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Hwange Colliery shifts focus to high value products

Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) is advancing the production of high value and margin coking coal as part of the firm’s strategic thrust to improve its potential.

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

In a statement accompanying financial results for the year ended 31 December 2020, the colliery, which is under reconstruction, said it was producing an average of 30 000 tonnes per month from the existing underground mining operations.

“During the year under review, focus was on increasing production and sales of high value coking coal. Coking coal sales increased by 6,5 percent from 223 662 tonnes in 2019 to 238 112 in 2020,” said the company.

“Plans are underway to develop a second underground mining section in the medium term, so that coking coal production will double when the new section is fully operational. In addition, opencast operations at the JKL pit will continue in order to increase high value coking coal in the product mix.

“The current JKL operation is producing an average of 50 000 tonnes per month and the target is to increase production to 100 000 tonnes per month by end of 2021.”

HCCL is also looking at beneficiation of old slurry dumps to generate power from low scale generating units using gasification technology.The company has also put to public tender the resuscitation of the old coke battery as well as construction of a greenfield coke battery.

“Bidders were invited to tender for the full rebuild of the company’s original coke oven battery, which was shut down in mid-2014. The tender is for rebuilding of the by-products plant and ancillary plants and also for the supply of a completely new coke oven battery together with the by-products and ancillary plant,” it said.

As part of HCCL’s strategic plans to unearth its potential, the main thrust going into the year is to ensure the full capacitation of opencast mine by addressing all bottlenecks in the mining process, and the company is also looking forward to growing market share of coking coal sales in neighbouring countries.

“Efforts to facilitate procurement of equipment due for replacement have commenced. Likewise, some work will be done to continue to stabilise the washing capacity at both the HMS plant and the Jig Flotation Plant,” said HCCL.

“The development of the Option Area and Lubimbi coal fields is planned for the medium term. The company has therefore started community engagements at Lubimbi in preparation of the mining process.

“The company is also looking at the prospects of electricity generation at Lubimbi to complement the mining process.”

HCCL aims to grow its coking coal sales market share as its coking coal and coke meet quality specifications in the ferro-chrome industries and smelters.The company plans to develop dedicated solutions for the delivery of coking coal and coke products in Zimbabwe and the region.

The firm said it will continue with the momentum it gathered at the end of last year on exports after it was negatively affected by Covid-19 during the first half of 2020. On a historic cost basis, the firm’s performance improved from a gross profit of ZWL$182 million for the year ended December 2019 to a gross profit of ZWL$471 million for the year under review.

The net loss position, however, increased from ZWL$91 million to ZWL$640 million due to an exchange loss of ZWL$1,4 billion on legacy foreign creditors.

“Revenue increased by 13 percent from ZWL$3,954 billion in 2019 to ZWL$4,468 billion in 2020 on an inflation adjusted basis,” said HCCL. The Chronicle