Roberta Katunga in Hwange
COAL mining concern Makomo Resources has secured a licence to develop a 660 megawatt power station amid revelations that at least $3 billion is needed to fund the project.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Makomo sixth year anniversary celebrations at the mine on Friday, general manager Mr Samson Mabvira revealed that the company had been given the go ahead by the Government to proceed with the power project.
Mr Mabvira said the company would proceed with implementing the project that would be spearheaded by Southern Energy, a company with links to Makomo Resources.
“We got the licence two weeks ago and at the time that we were waiting for Government approval, we have been moving around looking for off takers that we have managed to secure,” he said.
He said the project that is estimated to cost between $2 to $3 billion would produce about 660 megawatts of electricity as two 330 MW plants are being constructed as part of the project.
Mr Mabvira estimated that once the investors release the finance, the project would take about two years to complete.
“We have set a timeline of a maximum of three years once funding is released by the international investors that we have on board. Southern Energy will be in charge of the project as we are responsible for the production of the raw material that is coal,” he said.
The power station is meant to ease power shortages that are being faced in the country as Zesa struggles to provide sufficient electricity amid fears of being cut off by regional suppliers from South Africa and Mozambique due to unsettled debts for power imports.
Zesa has also allegedly threatened to resort to load shedding as it is unsustainable for the company to prepay electricity from other countries.
Meanwhile, Mr Mabvira said the Zimbabwe Power Company owes Makomo about $25 million for the supply of coal. He said their main production supplies were to ZPC, last month having delivered 163 000 tonnes to the power company. Mr Mabvira said Makomo was targeting to produce 200 000 tonnes a month of coal by the end of the year.
“When we started off operations in 2010, our mandate was to stabilise coal supply in the country. We reached our peak production in 2013 but in 2014 and 2014 production was low because we reduced delivery to ZPC. However, from this year, our numbers have started increasing and we want to surpass our 2013 production which was the highest at 186 000 tonnes per month. Our aim is to go beyond 200 000 tonnes by end of the year,” he said.
He said the company was also supplying power stations in Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare as well as exporting to countries like Zambia. Mr Mabvira that the company has managed to stay afloat due to adaption to changing business models and protecting themselves as individuals.
“If you leave your fate in the hands of others you will not succeed. Our strategy is that if you work at Makomo and do not perform, you are not fit to be in the matrix as we need people who are diligent. Time is moving and there are always changes,” he said.
According to the mine, the company has a non retirement clause which states that a worker has two options; perform or leave.
Workers Committee member Mr Amos Gutu said the workers were prepared to lift the company flag and uphold its integrity.
“We as the workers want to make Makomo the largest coal producer not only in Zimbabwe but beyond,” he said.
The Makomo celebrations which are an annual event on the company calendar were officiated by Victoria Falls Mayor Sifiso Mpofu as the guest of honour and delegates were treated to live performances by various artistes that included Jah Prayzah, Alick Macheso, Peter Moyo, Sulumani Chimbetu as well as Baba na Mai Charamba.