Bulawayo, Zimbabwe —18 March 2013 – A new mining company in the Gwayi area of the Matabeleland North province of Zimbabwe “’ China-Africa Sunlight Energy “’ is to invest over US$2 billion in projects involving coal mining, methane coal bed gas extraction and thermal power generation.

The company was established in 2011 through a joint venture between Oldstone Investments, a Zimbabwean investment vehicle, and Shandong Taishan Sunlight, a Chinese conglomerate.

allAfrica.com reports that unveiling the huge investment plan in Bulawayo this week, China-Africa Sunlight Energy deputy general manager Charles Mugari said the company intended to start operations mid-year once it received an Environmental Impact Assessment certificate from the Environment Management Agency.

“The company will invest US$2.1 billion to carry out thermal coal mining with a total planned output of 3Mtpa,” he added.

“We intend to set up a washing plant with planned output of 1Mtpa, and a coking coal plant with planned output of 500,000tpa.”

Mugari said the project would create over 4 500 new jobs. The project was an underground mining operation which would have minimal negative impact on the environment.

“We intend to set up a power generation plant and we expect to connect 400MW to the national grid by 2015. This project will bring relief to both the farming and manufacturing sectors," he stated.

“This project will seek to extract methane gas for both domestic and industrial use. Domestic commercialisation of the gas project will have a pilot programme in Hwange and eventually Bulawayo.”

Mugari said through other downstream projects, the company would set up a chemical manufacturing plant to produce fertiliser and a range of agro and industrial chemical products. “There will also be production of bricks, to be done from the ashes generated from the power generation process," he said.

The company has secured water rights from the Ministry of Water Resources and a power generation licence from Zera, and has finalised national grid connection modalities with Zesa.

In compliance with the empowerment and indigenisation regulations, Mugari said the company had contributed US$1 million to the community share ownership scheme. He added that the project was set to transform Matabeleland North Province, especially Gwayi, into a new town through the construction of roads and other social amenities, such as clinics.

Source: allAfrica.com. For more information, click here.