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Makomo coal production dips by 37%

COAL miner Makomo Resources says production at its Hwange mine has plummeted by 38% in year-to-date due to machinery breakdowns and shortage of foreign currency.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Makomo managing director Raymond Mutokonyi told journalists on the sidelines of the just-ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), that they were having challenges in maintaining their equipment due to shortage of forex.

“Our figures for last year were hovering between 230 000 and 300 000 tonnes per month, but year-to-date, we have come down by 37% or 38% due to machinery challenges.

“We are having challenges in maintaining our equipment,” he said.

“We need foreign currency to maintain, refurbish or to bring in new equipment, but we can’t get the forex. So this has affected output in a big way.

“We have had challenges trying to satisfy both the local and export market. We hope the situation will improve as we go forward.”

Mutokonyi said the situation was now threatening their export market.

“We have been servicing the export market for the past four years, but we are no longer able to do so at the same scale because of the forex challenges,” he said.

“But, yes, we have been servicing albeit at a lower scale than previously achieved.

“We are servicing mostly Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and a bit of Malawi.”

Mutokonyi said their aim was to grow the export market to increase revenue.

On the debt owed by power utility Zesa, Mutokonyi said: “We are happy that they eventually paid through the treasury bills early this year.

“So we are happy that in terms of past debt they have managed, but it is our plea that as we go forward, they will be able to pay for the coal they take on time because the repercussions of non-payment distort the delivery and collection cycles.

“So as long as the payments come on time, then it will help us alleviate the challenges we have been experiencing lately.”

Zesa owed the coal miner about $30 million.

Matokonyi, Makomo said, had budgeted about $15 million this year for capital expenditure.

“In mining you need to continuously replace your equipment,” he said.

“We are budgeting in the region of between $12 million and $15 million this year for equipment and infrastructure.”

Makomo has been mining at the Entuba coalfields and the mine has been in operation for the past eight years.

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