Coal miner Hwange to revive coke oven battery

HARARE - Tri-listed coal miner, Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL), has revived plans to construct a new coke oven battery, it has been learnt.

HCCL, which is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and also trades its shares on the London and Johannesburg stock markets, initially wanted to construct the new coke oven battery using internal resources. This was after it decommissioned the old coke oven battery four years ago after it became too expensive to operate.

HCCL abandoned plans to construct a new coke oven battery last year due to cash constraints.

This week, HCCL invited bids from companies interested in rebuilding the coke oven battery.

“As part of its turnaround plan HCCL has seen it prudent to restore coke oven battery and coke oven gas plant. Therefore HCCL invites bids for the rebuild or complete new construction of a recovery type coke oven battery, by-products plant and gas plant which includes a coke oven gas supply line to Hwange Power Station and financing of the project.

“Bidders should demonstrate their capabilities to offer both a technical and financial solution as a package or offer either a technical or financial package only. All bidders are required to demonstrate their capability to provide the required services and expertise and include their track record in the funding/construction of a recovery type coke oven battery or similar plant. Maintenance of the coke oven battery for a period of 12 months can be offered as an option,” HCCL said in a statement this week.

HCCL engaged Indian firm, Water and Power Services Consultants (WAPCOS), to do a feasibility study to assess the cost of a complete refurbishment of the old plant and construction of a new coke oven battery, which produces high value coke used in smelting plants.

Results from the study confirmed that about $50 million was required to construct a new coke oven battery. A similar amount was required for refurbishment.

HCCL used to export coke to smelters in the Copperbelt, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo but stopped in 2014 because it was no longer viable.

HCCL has been struggling over the years due to debts. As part of its turnaround strategy, the company recently embarked in a scheme of arrangement with its creditors and came up with a plan to liquidate the debts but failed to honour its promise.

HCCL miners’ wives last month embarked on protests over unpaid salaries. — The Financial Gazette

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