CIVILSTRUST Consortium Limited has teamed up with a group of Zambian experts in various fields to put in a bid to run the embattled Collum Coal Mine.
Executive chairman for the consortium, Peter Kapala, revealed that Civilstrust wants to acquire a large-scale mining licence and restore operations at the defunct Sinazongwe-based mine, which has been under ZCCM-IH’s control for the last two years.
Kapala said Civilstrust had teamed-up with 10 Zambian engineers, an environmentalist and a firm of accountants to restore operations at Collum Coal Mine.
Recently, government officials revealed that ZCCM-IH was under intense pressure running the Collum Coal Mine due to swelling costs and a raging fire in one of the shafts.
According to the officials, ZCCM-IH was spending close to K1.2 million per month on salaries to maintain a workforce at a mine that was currently not producing.
On top of that, the company was also spending significant amounts everyday to pump water out to avoid flooding at the mine.
ZCCM-IH managing director, Dr Pius Kasolo, could not respond to a press query sent to him.
The mine has been a centre of controversy since the government took control in 2013, with its Chinese former owners seeking compensation for its core mining assets.
“That mine has been very important for the people of Sinazongwe. It was their source of employment and it is important its operations are restored and we are keen and ready to do that ,” Kapala said in an interview.
He said Civilstrust Consortium had also engaged in a technical agreement with Civilstrust Consulting Engineers of Zambia, RSV Enco of South Africa and Tetra Tech of UK to come and train locals and help run the mine efficiently.
Chief executive officer for RSV Enco, Allan Wingrove, also confirmed the development along with Andy Johnson, a senior mining engineer at the same company.
Wingrove said RSV Enco had sufficient experience in coal mining and the agreement would bring a level of expertise needed to modernise the mine.
“We believe most Zambian workers at the mine were either semi-skilled or unskilled but with our level of experience in mining, we can train them and in the next three to five years, the mine can run efficiently with Zambians at all levels,” he added.
Wingrove said currently, RSV was redesigning the mine plan to modernise it and also conducting seam modelling to determine the life span and quality of the coal reserves.
Downstream improvements to the mine, according to Civilstrust’s plans, would include setting up a 150 mega watts coal-fired power plant and a fertiliser plant.
“It is hoped that the project will employ over 4,000 people permanently at all the ventures,” the company added.
If the consortium proceeds with its plans for Collum Coal Mine, it will become the only Zambian investor with a large-scale mining licence.