NRZ FINALISES TAR­IFF FOR COAL MINER:

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Africa Moyo Busi­ness Re­porter

THE Na­tional Rail­ways of Zim­babwe (NRZ) is set to thrash out a vi­able coal trans­porta­tion rate for Lib­er­a­tion Min­ing, a Hwange-based coal miner that is tar­get­ing the ex­port mar­ket after the firm protested the charges that it claimed were ex­or­bi­tant.

Lib­er­a­tion Min­ing had raised con­cern that the 5c per tonne, per kilo­me­tre tar­iff be­ing charged by NRZ to move coal to the ex­port mar­kets was un­sus­tain­able. The firm’s di­rec­tor tech­ni­cal ser­vices, En­gi­neer Peter Mutsinya, re­cently said they have en­gaged South Africa’s Transnet with a view to get­ting a “vi­able” tar­iff, and have been promised to of­fer a 3c tar­iff.

Once Lib­er­a­tion Min­ing en­gages Transnet, it means the en­vis­aged re­vival of NRZ would have been dented given that mov­ing cargo is its pri­mary busi­ness, con­tribut­ing 97 per­cent to rev­enue gen­er­a­tion. How­ever, Di­as­pora In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Group (DIDG) ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Mr Dono­van Chimhan­damba, told The Her­ald Busi­ness that they are now “fi­nal­is­ing” a tar­iff for Lib­er­a­tion Min­ing.

“We are busy fi­nal­is­ing a rate for them (Lib­er­a­tion Min­ing). Two weeks ago, we were with NRZ, Transnet and CFM (Por­tos e Cam­in­hos de Ferro de Mozam­bique), map­ping out a to­tal so­lu­tion for them,” said Mr Chimhan­damba.

CMF is a paras­tatal that over­sees Mozam­bique’s rail­way sys­tem and its con­nected ports.

Mr Chimhan­damba’s DIDG is the one that teamed up with Transnet of South Africa and won the ten­der to in­vest $400 mil­lion into the re­sus­ci­ta­tion of NRZ.

Lib­er­a­tion Min­ing wants a fairly lower tar­iff be­cause it has set up an am­bi­tious pro­duc­tion plan that will see it pro­duc­ing 1,5 mil­lion tonnes — run-of-mine — by end of this year; 7 mil­lion tonnes in 2020 and 15 mil­lion in 2022.

Nat­u­rally, the out­put can­not be con­sumed by the mar­ket in full, im­ply­ing that the bulk would be ex­ported mainly to South Africa, where pro­duc­ers are also angling for ex­port mar­kets. But the cost of trans­porta­tion is threat­en­ing to spoil the party for Lib­er­a­tion Min­ing, a firm set up by lo­cals who even­tu­ally got into a joint ven­ture ar­range­ment with Vos­tokCoal of Rus­sia.

Said Eng Mutsinya re­cently: “If I am talk­ing about ton­nages, we want to pro­duce and gen­er­ate for­eign cur­rency for the coun­try, it is dif­fi­cult to do so at the cur­rent costs. Un­less we do some­thing about NRZ as a na­tion, or as par­lia­ment, this na­tion is not go­ing to ben­e­fit from coal. An in­ci­sive de­ci­sion has to be made.”

Al­ready, Lib­er­a­tion Min­ing has in­vested $22 mil­lion into the project since 2010, with $12 mil­lion go­ing into ex­plo­ration and op­er­a­tions gob­bling $10 mil­lion. It ex­pects to in­vest a fur­ther $39 mil­lion by year end. Over­all, Lib­er­a­tion Min­ing’s coal project will re­quire $500 mil­lion. Ex­plo­ration has been done on 11 000 hectares out of the 16 545 hectare re­source. Its re­source state­ment gives them 1,2 bil­lion tonnes of coal.

The com­pany started min­ing de­vel­op­ment in Septem­ber last year after get­ting a li­cence from the En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (EMA).

Trial pro­cess­ing has been done and a plant that pro­cesses 100 000 tonnes per hour has been set up. Apart from ex­port­ing, Lib­er­a­tion Min­ing will sell some of its coal to in­dus­try, to­bacco farm­ers, the Zim­babwe Power Com­pany and Zisco once it starts op­er­at­ing, among other firms.

— (Pic­ture by Thu­peyo Mu­leya)

One of the lo­co­mo­tives that were de­liv­ered to the Na­tional Rail­ways of Zim­babwe in Fe­bru­ary this year.

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