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Hwange Colliery pays a fraction of outstanding salaries

Hwange Colliery has paid its workers part of their outstanding salaries in line with the Scheme of Arrangement, said Garikai Sigauke, who is the workers’ committee chairman.

Sigauke said the coal mining company paid 7% of the outstanding salaries, which stood at about $80 million at the beginning of the year. “I can confirm that we got about 7% of what we are owed and workers are very excited about that,” he said.

Last month, HCCL creditors approved a Scheme of Arrangement that will stagger the colliery’s debt repayments. The scheme also stopped litigations and writs of executions, which had crippled the company’s operations.

The Scheme of Arrangement between Hwange and its creditors has begun yielding positive results as witnessed a phenomenal increase in production between April and May.¬†“There is a lot of business activity taking place in the town,” said Sigauke.

The creditors will allow the company to borrow money for working capital.

Colliery outcomes

Coal output increased from 52 000 tonnes to 170 000 tonnes, said Stenjwa Makore managing director, Hwange Colliery. The arrangement entailed a compromise with creditors to clear the debts over a longer period freeing space for the company to operate productively.

“Payment will be generated from production so the focus certainly is that we increase production to profitable volumes so that we are able to service commitments we have made to our creditors,” said Makore in a sideline interview during Kamandama Mine disaster commemorations held in Hwange recently.

“What has paved the way for the boost in production is the scheme of arrangement. The ‘Yes vote’ by Hwange Colliery creditors has opened up space for us to implement all our plans. In the past 3-5 months we have been mobilising our meagre resources and focusing those resources on production.

“I’m glad to let you know that in the month of May we had a big jump in production, in April we achieved 52 000 tonnes and 170 000 tonnes in May. In the prior months we were getting around 30 000-40 000 tonnes,” added Makore.

Makore said 170 000 tonnes was a big step towards the company’s recovery but it would be targeting a break-even tonnage. “The biggest constraint in production has been working capital. Working capital could not be availed when we were facing litigations, writs of execution and attachments from some companies that had sued us,” he said.

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