HWANGE Colliery Company Limited has invited bids for the provision of contract mining services as the coal mining firm seeks to more than double production. Contract mining is engagement of a third-party miner by the holder of mineral rights to a mine. Under most contract mining agreements, the mineral rights holder is responsible for the permitting of the mine site.
The contract miner is generally responsible for providing all equipment, financing for its operation, internal mine capital needs, employee salary and benefits and all other requirements associated with an independent business.
Hwange Colliery spokesperson Mr Burzil Dube said although they are going to commission equipment that they bought recently from Sany Heavy Equipment Corporation of China there was need for additional capacity to achieve optimum output levels.
The coal mining firm is currently producing about 200 000 tonnes of coal per month, but is targeting to achieve 300 000 tonnes after commissioning the new equipment and 500 000 tonnes as a result of additional capacity from contractors.
In a tender notice, Hwange said prospective bidders should have capacity to mine a minimum of 800 000 bank cubic metres per month.
“Work . . . will include the opencast mining sequence of bush clearing, drilling and blasting overburden, overburden mining, drilling and blasting of coal and coal mining. All other ancillary activities like haulage road maintenance, dust suppression will be done by the contractor,” said Hwange.
“In addition, bidders should also indicate separately capacity to commission in-pit coal dry screening and crushing plants to process a minimum of 200 000 tonnes of coal per month.”
Contract mining companies would be paid on a set price per tonne of coal mined, said Mr Dube.
“This will enable us to meet our obligations as a company as this will see us realising at least US$13 million in revenue. The terms of the contract will also require the winner to employ Hwange workers,” said Mr Dube. Hwange is operating way below its installed capacity, largely due to production inefficiencies associated with the use of old machinery, shortage of working capital and skilled labour force.
Contract coal mining is being employed in Australia where the coal industry is undergoing major reforms and the government is trying to encourage the development of new mines and the revival of old mines.
Contracting companies are enabling mine owners to intensify their focus on fewer business functions while contractors focus on mining. The arrangement has proved effective in open-cast coal mines.