Harare, Zimbabwe — 03 January 2013 – State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) is interested in importing coal from Zimbabwe, according to a senior Zimbabwean government official.
JOGMEC, which is responsible for securing a stable supply of oil, natural gas and mineral resources for Japan, plans to import as much as 15Mtpa of coal “’ much more than Zimbabwe is currently producing, deputy minister of mines and mining development Gift Chimanikire said in an interview here reported by allAfrica.com.
“We met in December and they are looking at 15Mt annually," he said. “What is important now is to capacitate Hwange Colliery and ensure that all special grants that we issued in 2010 are utilised,” he added.
He added: “Obviously, we are going to have a big challenge (in terms of capacity and their requirements) but they are prepared to work with us on the production side and also in enhancing the railway system to have the product move faster to the port of Beira in Mozambique.”
Zimbabwe has an estimated 20 billion tonnes of unexploited coal reserves. It was expected to produce 2Mt last year compared with 2.5Mt a year earlier. At its peak in the mid-1990s, Zimbabwe produced more than 6Mtpa.
Hwange Colliery, the country’s largest coal mining company, produces an average of 225 000t of coal a month, but plans to double output after securing a US$22 million mine equipment supply deal with a Chinese firm.
Zimbabwe’s coal industry needs at least US$1 billion in new investment, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines told a local weekly paper in November last year.
The chamber said the 25 special grants issued by the government would significantly improve coal production, but this would depend on the company’s ability to raise capital.
“We will soon be establishing their potential,” said Chimanikire, warning those who have not made progress that their special grants would be cancelled.
Zimbabwe faces stiff competition from Mozambique, which started coal exports last year.
Tete Province is at the heart of Mozambique’s coal rush, with the region endowed with one of the world’s richest undeveloped coal reserves.
According to the World Bank, Mozambique could attract investment of up to U$10 billion in various coal projects in the next few years. In the next decade, the country could produce between 20 and 50Mtpa.
Source: allAfrica.com. For more information, click here.