Message Ven 24 Juin 2011 09:56

Maamba Collieries plans to procures coal handling processing

Maamba Collieries plans to procures coal handling processing equipment from South Africa
Friday, 24 Jun 2011

Maamba collieries Limited, the country's leading coal producer, procured a coal handling and processing plant for USD 23 million to boost operations at its plant in Sinazongwe in Southern Zambia and meet demand for the heating product.

In an advertised statement on June 23, Maamba Collieries, 65% owned by Nava Barat of Singapore the procurement of the processor bought from South Africa was part of the restructuring of the mine which started mining activities last May and sees to ramp up its production by July 2011.

The handling and processing equipment which is part of the modernizing of the plant sent up in the early 1970s has environmental friendly features and technology which is expected to contribute immensely to the anticipated coal production at the company, the country’s key supplier of the ehating product to the mines and industries.

The statement added that the processing equipment which is currently being testing in South Africa would be expected to be commissioned by mid September when the company is expected to be fully operational. The company, bought for USD 26 million by Singapore’s diversified miner in 2009, NBS and Zambia's largest coal producer of coal is Zambia’s coal life-line because of its vast deposits that the company expected to maximize to meet the increasing demand for coal in the mines local industries and export needs.

The company which seeks to generate its own thermal power plant at 330 MW to sustain operations at the mines projects to be fully operational by July 2011 and increase its capacity in the subsequent months. Plans are underway to undertake major refurbishment to the plant especially the ropeway by the end of July this year and commissioned by the end of October for a total cost of USD 5 million. An estimated USD 33 million has already been ploughed into the plant as part of the restructuring process and secure the future for the mine which once supplied mining companies in Zambia and neighboring countries.

Its failure to meet demand locally and outside markets, prompted many coal consumers to start importing the product from Wankie in Zimbabwe, among other foreign markets to meet mining and production demands in the copper industry and the private sector.

According to data, Maamba Collieries, once a key supplier of coal to the country's copper mines, produced about 600,000 tonnes of coal per year in the 1980s, but production slumped due to years of undercapitalization and operational losses.

Nava Bharat Singapore with a major stake seeks to spend USD 108 million on modernizing the mine which started revival activities in April 2010. Presently Nava Bharat Pte has ploughed in USD 33 million into the revival process, meeting salary arrears for workers and other debt obligations to suppliers and other creditors, that once seqized equipment at the mine for defaulting.

After selling off 65% equity in the mines by government, the State run Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings reserved 35% of Maamba mine shares. The mine with estimated reserves of 70 million tonnes to 100 million tonnes of coal forecasts to produce 360,000 tonnes of coal for the first year.

The miner further projects to hit a hallmark capacity of 2 million tonnes of coal production per annum in the short-medium and long term. Chinese run collum coal mine, located within the same area is another producer of coal with a production capacity of 100,000 tonnes per annum.

(Filed by Mr Kapembwa Sinkamba SteelGuru Correspondent Zambia)
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