Coal miner, Makomo Resources, says production in the first quarter of the year remained subdued, with output only reaching half of the company’s target due to the unavailability of key raw materials.

“Our target was between 200 000 tonnes and 250 000 tonnes a month and we did almost 50% of that in the quarter. In fact, it was only the latter part, the last month of the quarter, otherwise January and February we were very low. We did about 30% or so on average for the quarter, which is way below our target,” managing director Raymond Mutokonyi said.

“We faced operational challenges, especially the high cost of production versus the price of that commodity and unavailability of key raw materials like diesel and explosives, which are being imported”.

Makomo has an installed capacity of 350 000 tonnes per month which remains underutilised.

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“So, first quarter was very subdued. We did not do much, but the situation has slightly improved in the second quarter. But we are still having the same challenges. Fuel is a big challenge as it is still unavailable,” Mutokonyi said.

“We are hoping that somehow, the situation can be improved by availing the fuel at the right price as well as forex for key raw materials”.

“All things being equal, we would want to achieve at least 75% of our total capacity, but I’m not sure whether it’s going to be possible because the first quarter has already gone. But judging from the orders that Zesa wants, we should achieve at least 60% or so in the remaining months, provided the raw materials are available,” he said.

Makomo Resources is the largest privately-owned coal producer in Zimbabwe, and it supplies the country’s thermal power stations, industrial and agricultural sectors.