Tinashe Makishi Business Reporter
China Africa Sunlight Energy Limited has been granted special mining rights to start coal mining as the company pledged an initial $10 million towards the construction of a dam in Gwayi.The company is a joint venture between Old Stone Investments, a local vehicle and Shandong Taishan Sunlight, a Chinese conglomerate, which focuses on coal mining, methane coal bed gas extraction and thermal power generation.
China Africa Sunlight Energy Limited intends to start building a coal mine early next year.
In an interview with The Herald Business yesterday, general manager Retired Colonel Charles Mugari said the company has enough financial muscle to do the project.
“We intend to invest $2,1 billion in developing an underground coal mine and building a 2 100-megawatt plant by 2016 and already $10 million has been pledged that will go towards the construction of dam.
“I can confirm that Government granted us special mining rights for our coal mining project and the development is already due for gazetting,” said Rtd Col Mugari.
He said the environmental impact assessment for the project had been completed with everything in place for preliminary preparations to take off.
“We have moved firmly on the ground and we hope civil works will begin next month. Construction of storage facilities is also scheduled for next month, so I can confirm that its work in progress and the company has already fulfilled what EMA required during our exploration exercise,” he said.
The company is expected to sink its first mining shaft in November this year and Rtd Col Mugari said there is adequate funding available for the project to be a success.
He said the drilling will take up to 15 months and the actual mining will start by June 2015.China Africa Sunlight Energy plans to invest US$2,1 billion in the projects in the next four years, creating 4 500 jobs and transforming Gwayi into a town.
The company is targeting to produce three million tonnes of thermal coal, one million tonnes of washed coal and 500 000 metric tonnes of cocking coal per year.
On power generation, the joint venture is expected to connect 400MW onto the national grid by 2015.
The company is also looking at developing a fertiliser plant, brick moulding factory and a coke oven battery, which produces coke used in steel smelting.
In addition, China Africa Sunlight Energy is also conducting studies to measure the amount of gas reserves available in the Gwayi area. Depending on the outcome of the gas study, the company wants to start a programme piloting methane gas for domestic use in Hwange, Matabeleland North Province, and extend this to Bulawayo if successful.