Zim crafting coal mining rules

Zim crafting coal mining rules
Published: 03 September 2017
ZIMBABWE is working on minimum coal mining standards to ensure operational uniformity following the entry of new players in coal extraction.

Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development Fred Moyo told The Sunday Mail Business that coal miners' activities had become "haphazard" since the entry of new operators.

Hwange enjoyed a monopoly in coal mining since 1899 until 2010 when Makomo Resources – now the country's largest coal producer – commenced operations.

Other companies that are into coal mining in Matabeleland North Province include Coal Brick Ltd and Zambezi Gas while close to 100 companies have applied for coal mining concessions in the province.

The standardisation process will result in Government coming up with minimum standards on, among others, mineral exploration, mine design, extraction procedures, the type of equipment used, product definition, environmental management, rehabilitation of mined areas, handling of waste as well as health and safety issues.

"It is important that the standards be harmonised so that we have a sustainable coal mining industry," said Mr Moyo.

"We would want the Chamber of Mines to obviously co-ordinate the process so that we can have a template of minimum standards.

"I believe that a lot of work has already been done and the recommendations have already been presented to the Department of Mining Engineering."

Coal has been the dominant energy mineral for Zimbabwe.

The country boasts vast reserves of coal particularly in the northwest as well as in the southern parts of the country.

Matabeleland North has the largest coal deposits in the country. Some of the deposits are found in the Hwange National Park – Zimbabwe's largest game reserve game park.

Mining analysts said the standardisation of coal mining would level the playing field.

"The regulations are important in the sense that the industry will adopt best global mining standards and also level the playing field from the competition point of view," one analyst said.

"This will also avoid companies cutting corners in all processes.

"We will have minimum standards in terms of equipment, rehabilitation of mined area, etc."

A senior official with a coal mining firm said setting regulations that govern the coal mining industry was necessary considering that Hwange was no longer enjoying a monopoly.

"At the same time, it is important that coal mining operations do conform to the best global and safety standards bearing in mind that we previously lost lives," said the official.

In 1972, a methane gas explosion ripped through Hwange Colliery's Kamandama underground mine, trapping and subsequently killing 427 miners, the worst mine accident in the history of Zimbabwe.
- online
Tags: coal,


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