ZIMBABWE will be exporting electricity to countries in the region in the next five years as Government has set ambitious projects that will see a number of power generating projects firing.
Officiating at the ground breaking ceremony for Zambezi Gas and Cola Mining Northern pit in Hwange on Friday where underground mining is set to start, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Hon Monica Mutsvangwa said it was encouraging that projects that were initiated to ensure that the country reaches self-sufficiency and even surplus in power generating were taking shape.
Hence, she said, Zimbabwe will be able to produce 5 000 megawatts that will be enough to meet local demand and exports.
“I am impressed by what is happening here hardly five months after our visionary leader President Mnangagwa has come to this area a lot has happened. We have always talked about our diasporas and how they are important in growing the economy of our country and today we have just witnessed that here. This is what we need to tell the world, Zimbabwe which used to import coal is beginning to have local production which is sufficient and soon to be exporting. I hear by about 2025 we should be getting 5 000MW of electricity and this will give Zimbabwe what we want and make the country a net exporter,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the private sector must also play a part in helping the Government in attaining Vision 2030. Zambezi Gas and Coal Mining operations director Engineer Menard Makota said the company was looking at doubling up production from 100 000 tonnes per month to 200 000 tonnes. The company is a wholly indigenous owned company which has over 200 million tonnes of coal reserves sitting over 8 000ha of land and is one of the fastest growing coal mines in the country.
“When we began coal mining operations way back in 2017, we targeted a monthly production of 60 000t which we will increase over the next two years to 100 000t. Now we want to double that tonnage to 200 000t per month and this event serves as a confirmation of our undertaking. We pride ourselves in that we use experts in each field to ensure world-class standards and efficiency. Zambezi Gas’ current operations consists of an open pit which we call the Southern Pit as well as a coal washing and processing plant. The Northern Pit capacity is 100 000t and will lead to the opening up of underground portals. The first section of the underground will target 60 000t per month of coking coal before ramping up to 80 000t,” said Eng Makota.
Eng Makota said the company had since been awarded a licence to establish a 750MW power station.
“We are also pleased to announce that we have begun plans to construct a 750MW power plant here after we received a license from Government. An Environment Impact Assessment is currently being worked on as we speak by our consultants and we expect to channel out electricity in phases. We are not going to wait for external funding but will make use of internal ones while we source so that we realise the vision behind this company.”
The company which employs 450 workers expects to churn out 150MW in the first phase into the national grid in 2024 which will be followed by 600MW by 2027.
Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando commended the company’s efforts arguing that the development effectively meant Zambezi Gas was now the largest coal producer in the country boosting efficient supplies to the energy sector.
The company also plans to construct a coking plant in the next two years as part of value addition while construction on the 750MW thermal power station is set to begin next year. The event was also attended by the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Soda Zhemu,
Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Richard Moyo and Zesa chairman Dr Sydney Gata and traditional leaders from the province.-sundaynews