Fairness Moyana in Hwange
HWANGE-based coking coal producer, South Mining (Pvt) Ltd, is targeting to widen the export market as it works towards ramping up production to 420 000 tonnes per annum.
The company recently underwent capacity expansion and is now churning out 300 000 tonnes per annum from its two production lines.
Plant A is producing 100 000 tonnes while output at the new Plant B stands at 200 000 tonnes.
President Mnangagwa commissioned the $50 million 24-oven coke battery on 16 July 2020 following a tour of coal and coking companies in Hwange District.
Coke, which has a high export demand than thermal coal, is critical in the processing industry, particularly in ferrochrome and stainless steel smelting.
Its by-products include crude tar, benzol, and coke oven gas that is sometimes used to fire up thermal power stations. According to the company’s public relations manager, Mr Charles Muchabaiwa, increased production at South Mining is expected to leverage on the new completion of construction of an additional battery at its second plant.
“Our outlook for 2023 is that the total production for coke per annum will be ramped up to 420 000 tonnes per year from the current production levels, which stand at 300 000 tonnes,” he said.
“We managed to complete the second phase of plant B expansion by completing the construction of an additional battery, which is going to be key in our ultimate goal of increasing output to 420 000 tonnes,” said Muchabaiwa.
He said at the moment the coke producer is selling the bulk of its product on the local market mainly to ferrochrome producers while 29 percent is sold to regional markets with Zambia and DRC accounting for 18 percent of the market share.
Mr Muchabaiwa said the company’s performance in 2022 was fair with success stories such as an increase in its workforce, commencement of coal mining company, as well as improved community engagement through social corporate responsibility being some of the major highlights of the year.
“I would say we fared well in 2022 in terms of our performance. Of note is that there was improved community engagement through construction of a community library, increased workforce by 400 more employees from the community, our subsidiary company began coal mining while we improved our team building exercises to foster unity and hard-working ethics to the employees,” he said.
Construction of a state-of-the-art library for the Hwange community by the company under the Hwange Local Board’s Empumalanga suburb is now at 90 percent completion stage.
He, however, was quick to point out that the Chinese company also faced challenges that included interrupted production due to frequent power cuts, the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as fuel price increase, among others.
The company intends to construct a coking coal washing plant for raw material preparation as part of its future plans.