Home » Governance » ZMDC Ordered to Start Gas Exploration

GOVERNMENT has challenged Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation to immediately start exploring its coal-bed methane gas concessions in Lupane.

ZMDC currently has two concessions of coal-bed methane gas.Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said coal-bed methane is one of the country’s valuable minerals but no concrete efforts have been made to exploit the mineral.

“I urge the incoming ZMDC board to work on some of the Greenfield resources so as to realise value and hence its balance sheet. The corporation has two coal-bed methane concession in Lupane –Lubimbi area. If explored, the move would be good for the nation,” said Minister Chidhakwa.

“I therefore urge ZMDC to start exploring those reserves to make sure that the country knows how much methane gas it has.”

Minister Chidhakwa said he expects the board, led by Bindura Nickel deputy chairman David Murangari, to work closely with the newly formed mining promotion company.

He urged the new board to come up with strategies that will revive “dead” mines such as Shabanie-Mashaba mines, Mhangura and Kamativi tin mine, among others.

The revival of Shabanie-Mashava mines will recreate more than 3 000 jobs.

Government will continue giving mining concessions to ZMDC in order for the country to realise the value of its minerals.

“Joint ventures, opening new lines of credit and loans should be within the new board’s portfolio to raise funding for its projects,” the minister said.

Estimates say Zimbabwe has 40 trillion cubic feet of potentially recoverable gas in the Lupane-Lubimbi area.

The development of the Lupane coal-bed methane gas project has potential to boost the country’s energy generation capacity.

A recent World Bank report urged Government to develop a clear strategy to extract the gas.

Besides gas for electricity generation, there are other investment opportunities which are available in the core and downstream industries from coal-bed methane including production of a variety of chemicals, fertiliser production and gas to liquids producing diesel, specialist lubricants and waxes.

Companies like China-Africa Sunlight Energy (Private) Limited have already contracted Environmental Guardians Services to conduct an environmental impact assessment for exploration of coal and methane gas at its Gwayi-Concession.

Last year, China-Africa Sunlight applied for power-generation licences from the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority to establish a power station to produce 120 megawatts (MW) electricity output.

Studies have revealed that coal-bed methane deposits in the country have capacity to produce 300MW of electricity.

Source : The Herald