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LocalNews

Chinese firm invests US$80m in coke oven

Chinese company, Tutu, will invest US$80 million in building a coke oven battery in Hwange as it targets export markets for coke products, it’s director Mr David Zou said yesterday.

Tutu is a member of a group of Chinese companies, which also includes Chilota Collieries already mining fossil fuel in Hwange.

Chilota produces coal for Hwange thermal power station. The coke ovens, with annual capacity of 300 000 tonnes, was initially scheduled to be completed last year but was delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Zou said.

“We are now targeting to bring the plant online next year,” Mr Zou told The Herald Finance & Business in an interview.

“The coke ovens processes coking coal, which is smelted into coke.

Coke, whose by-products include crude tar, benzol and coke oven gas, is a critical component in the ferrochrome and stainless steel production and has high export demand.

Mr Zou said the company would soon open a coking coal mine and the equipment was already at port Beira in Mozambique.

“For our coke products, we are targeting local market as well as South Africa, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Hwange Colliery Company, in which Government has a stake used to export to copper smelters in Zambia and the DRC but stopped after it decommissioned its coke ovens in 2014 after they became too expensive to operate.

Hwange Collieries needed about US$50 million to rebuild the plant, almost equal investment needed for a new project.

Zimbabwe has been pushing for beneficiation of minerals to boost revenues, encourage formation of new businesses and create jobs.

The advantage of beneficiation is derived from the multiplier effect created by a broader scope of manufacturing and industry capacity. Herald

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