Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) has narrowed down operating loss to US$16.2 million in the first half of this year from US$25.9 million under the same period last year.

The negative balance sheet for HCCL comes at a time when the coal mining firm recorded a 23 percent decline in revenue attributed to low sales volumes owing to low production from January to April this year.

Under the six months period revenue was US$18.8 million compared to US$24.5 million recorded under the same period last year with production averaging 42 000 tonnes monthly compared to the budgeted 175 400 tonnes.

A significant improvement on production figures was recorded in May and June with figures hitting 170 000 and 230 000 tonnes of coal in that order.

Despite the loss-making tag, HCCL has strategically adopted cost containment measures which saw the finance cost for the period amounting to US$7.2 million compared to US$1.8 million for the same period last year.

Total sales tonnage was 450 500 against a budget of one million tonnes compared to 585 600 tonnes for the same period last year.

Non-current assets of the company decreased by 13 percent to US$141 800 million from US$162 400 million for the same period in 2016.

The board is confident that underground operations will be opened in the last quarter of this half with the impact expected on next year’s financial results.