Newly appointed Managing Director Thomas Makore told journalists after the company’s annual general meeting that Hwange, which is struggling with legacy and current debt, was currently mining on average 150,000 mtpm. “The equipment is coming from Belarus and India between September and October,” he said.
“The equipment will allow us to produce coal quantities at targets that we have set ourselves.”
In the last two years, Hwange has repaid around $35 million of the legacy debt, but operational challenges have seen the coal miner accruing more debt through failure to pay workers and creditors for months, which has resulted in the latter dragging HCCL to court. The miner owes workers $19 million in unpaid salaries and $13 million to other creditors, most of whom are equipment suppliers. “We accept our obligations and are trying to negotiate payment plans,” Makore said.
As part of Hwange’s reorganization, the company will be divided into five units, which include plant and equipment, open-cast mining as well as underground mining. “That way, we can better manage the company as we can be able to monitor and track the costs and performance,” he said. “We are mapping a clear road forward that should allow us to become sustainable.” Hwange, which employs 3,200 people, had earlier announced plans to retrench over a third of its workforce to rationalize the workforce, but the government, which is the major shareholder, blocked the move.