Coal production in Zimbabwe totalled 2 871 962 t in 2003 compared to 3 721 112 t in 2002. Karoo sediments in the northwestern part of the country host Zimbabwe’s coal reserves. Coal-bed methane recently discovered in the northwest of the country provides an alternative energy source to coal. The discoveries are considered to be comparable to those in the USA. Several exploration companies are reporting viable resources awaiting further development and investment. This resource could be used for power generation, production of pharmaceuticals, ammonia-based fertilisers and other chemicals.
The Wankie Coal Company (WCC) operates the only coal mining and washing complex in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean government currently owns 40% of the company, but is seeking to sell its interest to potential investors. It seems that interest in this deal has been low key based on Wankie’s unreliable customers, ZISCO and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA). Wankie Colliery Company has adequate capacity to meet the country’s needs in terms of energy requirements for domestic heating, agricultural heating, industrial energy as well as power stations. However, the quality of Wankie coal in terms of sulphur and phosphorous is not suitable for metallurgical purposes and therefore such coal is imported mainly from South Africa.
During 2004 the WCC failed to open its new 3Main Underground Mine due to a shortage of funds, The opening of the new underground mine – with a life span of 25 years – had been planned for June 2004 however, plans were suspended when the company failed to raise the US$25 million required to get the mine into operation.The underground mine has the capacity to produce 150 000 tonnes of coal a month as opposed to the 50 000 tonnes currently being produced.
Wankie Colliery Co Ltd, Hwange Colliery Company Ltd
Abascis, Alberta, Anzac, Arcturus, Babs, Beehive, Bindura, Black Dawn, Blanket, Blue Rock, Brompton mine, Bubi, Buchwa, Cam & Motor, Camperdown, Cherole, Connemara, Copper, Cygnet, Dalny Mine
Rio Tinto Plc
Rio Tinto and subsidiary Rio Tinto Zimbabwe (RTZ) are currently evaluating the Gokwe North coal deposit.
Wankie Colliery Co Ltd
Wankie Collieries operates Zimbabwe’s largest colliery complex, located near the town of Hwange.