Hwange based coke producing firm, South Mining (Pvt) Ltd says it is on course to expand its coke production to 420 000 tonnes per annum by 2020 following the recent injection of $50 million towards the construction of two coke oven batteries.

The firm is currently producing 132 000 tonnes per annum and the new coke oven batteries are set to boost production.

The expansion of the capacity is being driven by the surge in demand of coke from local ferrochrome producers and other off takers. 

South Mining (Pvt) Limited Managing Director, Chenji Li said the firm is geared at playing a critical role in the local economy and is projecting to increase sales revenue to around $51.2 million by 2020 once the new plant reaches full production.

“Driven by the increased demand for coke we are expanding our capacity to 420 000 tonnes per annum by building two coke oven batteries,” said Chenji.

The Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr Raj Modi, who was on a two-day tour of the mining firms in Matabeleland North Province, hailed efforts by the coke producing firm for supporting the government drive towards achieving export-led economic growth.

“The expansion project is a sign of confidence in the Zimbabwean market and as government, we welcome such investments which have the potential to generate more foreign currency,” he said.

Chief Hwange hailed the firm for maintaining confidence in the Zimbabwean market and for ongoing projects aimed at improving the livelihoods of villagers in neighboring communities.

“As traditional leaders, we are so excited about the work being done by South Mining. They have been actively involved in a number of community assistance work in and around Hwange,” he said.

Coke is as an essential raw material for ferrochrome production.

The Hwange based coke producer is currently selling the bulk of its product on the local market mainly to ferrochrome producers and 29% is sold in regional markers with DRC accounting for 18% of the market share.