This website celebrates achievements of one of the most prominent companies in Africa, Hwange Colliery. It also explores what the coal industry is all about. We hope it will also help students to learn about fossil fuel, renewable energy in mining and the importance of coal.
Coal to Diamond?
But is that so? The old saying states: “A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.”
Students quickly learn that even though both coal and diamond are made primarily from carbon, their chemical structures are significantly different. So, let’s explore what’s the chemical composition of coal.
Hwange Colliery Company Limited explores, mines, processes and markets coal, coke, and associated by-products. The Company aims to produce more tonnes of coal per annum in order to satisfy domestic and export customers.
Hwange Colliery Company Limited is located in the remote western tip of the country. Although remotely located, it is, however, far from being isolated, as just next door is beautiful Hwange National Park and only one hundred kilometers to the northwest is one of the natural wonders of the world-Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya) on the Zambezi River.
Hwange Colliery Company has developed a self-contained community with a population of about 55,000. All services associated with local and central government – from road maintenance to refuse collection, water, and power reticulation, schools, health, housing, recreational facilities, and sewage disposal – are provided by the Company. It also operates its own railway and road transport system, internal security and telephone system.
In addition, adequate shopping, postal and banking facilities are provided to the community. In sports, the Company boasts, inter alia, an 18 hole golf course, tennis, cricket, bowling, squash, badminton, angling and boating clubs and has a football team playing in the country’s Buddie Premier Soccer League.
The Company provides and maintains suitable housing for all employees. Hwange Colliery Company owns and operates a large, modern and well equipped six ward hospital, the biggest in Matabeleland North outside Bulawayo, which is staffed by a number of qualified doctors and other professional staff. The Company prides itself on looking after its employees’ interest, “from the womb to the tomb”.
Hwange Colliery Company provides the energy needs of the whole nation from the “black stones that burn”.
The shares of the Company are quoted on the Harare, London, and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges.
The Company employs more than 3200 people and its board comprises of ten members whose composition reflects the holdings of the major shareholders.
Hwange Colliery’s role in the economy of Zimbabwe is of great strategic importance, as coal is a vital source of energy found in abundance in the country.
Hwange Coalfield is situated in the North-Western corner of Zimbabwe. The sediments of the area are part of the Karoo system.
The main seam comprising of Vitrinite-rich bright banded coking coal and durain-rich power coal rests directly upon the lower Wankie Sandstone with a conformable contact. The seam forms the base of the unit known as lower carbonaceous mudstone overlain by Wankie fireclay. Generally, within the Opencast area, this combination of fireclay and carbonaceous mudstone from the Overburden stripped by Dragline mining operations. In areas where the depth of Overburden exceeds 35 meters, a coarse-grained upper Wankie sandstone is encountered usually in the form of capping on top of small kopjes.
Operations on Chaba mine commenced in February 2006 with overburden production so as to expose coal. The first tonne of coal was mined in April 2006 and an overall 22563 tonnes was mined in the same month. The mine’s output has been going up every month since then. It was developed as a new strategy pip to exploit the Chaba East reserve as this presented best option to preserve Hwange Coking Coal (HPC) raw coal mining capacity to levels consistent with established demand as well as opportunities for a consistent supply of low phosphorous coal from the dragline pit that has the greatest potential to capture new markets for locally and exports.
- Reserves +90 million Tons
- Planned production 200 000tpm (Tonnes per month)
- Life of mine 40 years
- Exploration complete
- Mine Schedule / Plan Drawn
- Exposing coal for bilk testing
- Use as a strategic pit for the current operation.
- Coal mining operations commenced on 5 April 2006
The Company takes cognizance of its role as the backbone of the Zimbabwean economy and supports a plethora of strategic industries namely;
- Power generation
- Steel and allied industries
- Cement production
- Brick making