Hwange, BEML refute equipment claims

HARARE - Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) has strongly rejected claims that it had acquired second hand equipment from BEML of India, saying the allegations were “malicious and unfounded.”

Farai Mutamangira, the HCCL chairman, yesterday said there was “need for the nation to focus on developmental issues as opposed to unfounded allegations”.

“We cannot detain the whole nation over an oil leak, we do not have the luxury of being petty and negative in our fight to achieve the goals of ZimAsset which, is anchored on mining,” he said.

“The equipment is brand new… and its vendor-financed by the Exim Bank of India. All the necessary due diligence on its ability… was done by our technical teams before and after manufacturing, shipment and delivery.”

The statement comes as Zimbabwe’s largest coal miner has come under fire from the state media after some of the $31 million consignment of front-end loaders and other mining equipment had developed problems, specifically hydraulic oil leaks.

HCCL insists that this was pretty normal in a commissioning phase, with technical sources attributing the development to possible altitude and temperature changes, and other post-shipment assembling line processes.

“The equipment… (was) under warranty and free of any defect in design… or workmanship. It is misinformed to report that the machines are second hand as they have new serial numbers…,” it said on Wednesday, adding the equipment was still undergoing a variety of checks, including “load testing… to identify any snagging issues, which the supplier will resolve”.

“This… brings to the fore any issues… that may result due to transportation or assembling processes,” the publicly traded coal miner said, noting “problems of this nature normally occur during any new equipment-commissioning phases”.

“Once the machines are deployed into production and their performance… have been monitored and approved, then commissioning can be completed,” HCCL said.

Also on Wednesday, BEML – with a significant share of mining equipment supply in India and has exported similar products to more than 60 countries globally – stressed that it delivered brand new machinery to HCCL.

“…the mining equipment supplied to Hwange… is indeed brand new and are in compliance with the specifications agreed to… and supplied after due certification…,” Nagendra Kumar, the company’s general manager, said.

“The EXIM Bank of India also assessed BEML’s capacity and capability in supplying quality equipment before… (finalising) the financing package. As such, there is no room for supplying any equipment of inferior quality,” he added.

A state-owned organisation, BEML has been involved in the design and manufacturing of mining, and construction equipment over the last 50 years.

This week, the Indian company also noted that it expected “all equipment will be put to effective use” by end July.

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