Hwange to get new coal concessions

HARARE - Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) is set to acquire new coal concessions in a move aimed at increasing the life-span of the group’s mines and attract new investment.

HCCL chairman Farai Mutamangira, said focus on the concessions was mostly on western areas.

“This will also augment Hwange Colliery Company’s capacity to supply coal to Hwange Power Station stage three and other thermal power stations. Coke requirements for iron and steel furnaces and ferro alloy smelters would be adequately covered,” Mutamangira said in a statement accompanying the group’s results for the year to December 2104.

In the period under review, the listed coal-miner secured a $6 million working capital facility structured through a prepayment arrangement with one of its major customers and adopted a judicious working capital management system in order to avail cash for the business.

However, persistent liquidity challenges and legacy debts slowed down HCCL’s efforts to bring up to date staff salaries.

“Staff salaries therefore remained in arrears for periods ranging from between 6-12 months for the lower grades and more than 12 months for managerial staff,” Mutamangira said.

According to the chairman, salary backlogs are set to be cleared in the second half of 2015, at planned levels of production and sales.

The group is targeting a production of more than 450 000 tonnes per month, as from June 2015, through own mining and contribution by contractor.

“…In this regard, the Company has already signed a supplier contract with Glencore, one of the world’s leading commodity companies,” Mutamangira said.

Meanwhile, the group’s production for the year ended December 2014 was 23 percent above prior period.

“Sales statistics show a similar growth trend evidenced by an increase of six percent between the volumes for 2013 and 2014,” said Mutamangira.

The improved overall sales performance was attributed to increased production throughput.

“The major mining contractor, Mota Engil’s contribution was notable in the last quarter of the year following full mobilisation hence attainment of monthly contractual obligations of 200 000 tonnes,” he said.

HCCL incurred a loss for the period under review of $37,2 million compared to a loss of $31,6 million posted in 2013, included in the loss for the year are non-recurring items amounting to $13,4 million comprising of assets impairment of $3,4 million, accrued retrenchment costs of $5 million and Palehouse (Private) Limited contract costs of $5 million.

 

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