De­mand for coal in­creases

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Leonard Ncube in Hwange

COAL pro­ducer Makomo Re­sources is seek­ing to in­crease out­put to more than 300 000 tonnes per month to meet grow­ing do­mes­tic de­mand mainly by small-scale to­bacco farm­ers.

This emerged dur­ing the com­pany’s eighth an­niver­sary at its Hwange plant, where Mrs Mon­ica Chi­na­masa, who is chair­per­son of the To­bacco In­dus­try and Mar­ket­ing Board (TIMB), was guest of hon­our. In her ad­dress, she said de­mand for coal by small-scale to­bacco farm­ers was pro­jected to rise to 250 000 tonnes in five years. Makomo Re­sources only pro­duces about 120 000 tonnes monthly.

“It’s im­por­tant to note that coal is no longer only used in the gen­er­a­tion of power as it has be­come the pre­ferred source of en­ergy in cur­ing to­bacco.

“The fu­ture of to­bacco in­dus­try heav­ily de­pends on pro­duc­ing to­bacco in a sus­tain­able and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly man­ner hence the cam­paigns to en­cour­age farm­ers to use coal in­stead of fire­wood to cure the golden leaf,” said Mrs Chi­na­masa.

She said Makomo Re­sources was key to the coun­try’s en­ergy sec­tor hence TIMB was open to part­ner­ships with the min­ing com­pany.

“The de­mand for coal will steadily in­crease as more and more small-scale farm­ers use coal to cure their to­bacco as op­posed to fire­wood.

“In five years the de­mand will rise from the cur­rent 120 000 tonnes to 250 000 tonnes,” said Mrs Chi­na­masa.

She said the small-scale to­bacco farm­ing sec­tor was grow­ing and her or­gan­i­sa­tion was en­cour­ag­ing the new farm­ers to use coal to curb de­for­esta­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to TIMB, there are now 140 894 to­bacco farm­ers com­pared to just 2 000 com­mer­cial farm­ers be­fore the land re­form pro­gramme.

In 2017-2018 farm­ing sea­son, to­bacco farm­ers pro­duced a to­tal of 252 mil­lion kgs of to­bacco worth more than $700 mil­lion.

Makomo Re­sources tech­ni­cal ser­vices and pro­cess­ing man­ager Mr Steve Car­i­nus said the com­pany was work­ing on in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion to 300 000 tonnes per month in or­der to meet the in­creased de­mand for the min­eral.

“Safety has been very good which con­trib­uted to some of the suc­cesses you have heard to­day.

“We’re do­ing well and a lot of main­te­nance is go­ing on as we are look­ing at up­ping our game and in­creas­ing vol­umes from the cur­rent 120 000 tonnes per month to 300 000 tonnes per month,” he said.

The cel­e­bra­tions saw 95 work­ers re­ceiv­ing long ser­vice awards. — @ncubeleon

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