Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Richard Musukwa has inaugurated Maamba Collieries Limited’s (MCL) most recent acquisition, the state-of-the-art, high technology Surface Miner.
Maamba Collieries Ltd thus becomes the first mining firm in Zambia to operate this state-of-the-art Surface Miner, which can be used to mine in layers by using a milling drum, without the need to drill & blast.
Maamba Collieries Ltd is no stranger to industry-defining mining equipment being home to the legendary Bucyrus Erie 1260-W Walking Dragline, popularly known as the Zambian Queen – which held the record for the largest single mining equipment in Zambia for decades after its official commissioning in 1971.
This time around, MCL has chosen precision and modern technology over brute force, with the surface miner ensuring optimal efficiency while mining coal.
The high-tech equipment boasts a 3.8 metre drum optimised for maximum productivity at minimum cost over Maamba’s soft rock. At the same time, the diesel tank with a capacity of 2,300 litres makes it possible to operate the machine around the clock with only one stop to refuel per day, resulting in greater productivity.
The surface miner technology allows extraction of coal and other minerals, without the need for drilling and blasting as hitherto – an advancement which is in line with MCL’s commitment to sustainable mining.
MCL, which operates the nation’s largest coal mining concession mines both high-grade coal which meets the demand of domestic construction sector and thermal-grade coal which is used in its thermal power plant to generate electricity.
Mr Musukwa said that coal based electricity that continues generating power independent of climate change and provides diversity of the energy mix, had proved to be critical to the energy sector in reducing load shedding, as the drought experienced over the past five years had reduced generation capacity of the country’s hydroelectric power stations.
“MCL today is the nation’s largest independent power producer and the second largest source of electricity generation in the country. Therefore, investments like the one made by Maamba Collieries must be supported by all key stakeholders,” Mr Musukwa said.
“Such huge investment is made on the background of sourcing resource and finance from international lenders and market players – financial giants – which Maamba has an obligation to meet, and I want to urge third players to this mix – ZESCO; Treasury – to ensure that they support Maamba by meeting their obligations so as for Maamba equally to meet its obligation to the lenders. If you look at the project and how it was structured, by this time Maamba should have been going on the second phase of the project, for which I am reliably told all the facets are in place but awaits resources. I implore our colleagues, especially ZESCO and the Treasury, because I am aware this project exists on a guarantee from the government and that it should be prioritised in terms of liquidation of its indebtedness so that they continue to support the development of the operation, the placement of jobs to our local people and also the confidence in an international market where they need to get resource to start and finish the second project.”