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HCCL Fails to Attract Investors

COAL producing firm, Hwange Colliery Company Ltd (HCCL), is failing to attract investors because of low coal reserves.

Reserves at Hwange are projected to last 25 years.
Sources at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company said during a recent board meeting dwindling coal reserves were cited as a threat to raising capital.
“The current reserves can last the mine about 25 years and that’s not good news for potential financial backers,” one of the sources said. “Colliery urgently needs close to US$200 million for operations.”
The source said potential financiers had expressed concern about the levels of reserves.
“They want concrete re-assurance that the company will be in a position to fully pay back loans with interests during the lifespan of the coal reserves,” the source added.
The short-term solution, according to the source, was for government to offer them new coal mining concessions to boost reserves.
HCCL applied to government for a mining grant for the Lubimbi and Entuba coalfields and was approved by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
Also another application has been lodged with government for coal bed methane exploration at the Gwayi/Halfway House area, which geological surveys have indicated to be rich in coal and methane gas.
HCCL managing director, Fred Moyo, could not be reached for comment.
During the board meeting, it was noted that of the US$200 million required, US$75 million would be for the first phase of capitalisation and US$100 million to develop new coalfields.
Several foreign companies have shown interest in funding HCCL with the most recent being the  Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa.
Output at the colliery declined to about 1,7 million tonnes in 2008 from just above 2 million tonnes a year earlier.
Coal is a key source of energy for sectors which anchor the economy such as agriculture and manufacturing.


Nqobile Bhebhe

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