DESPITE estimates that put unexploited gas reserves in the Lupane-Lubimbi basin at over 23 billion cubic feet, the government has yet to discover any after it started exploring early this year, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said on Tuesday.
In an interview with The Source, Chidhakwa said the exploration process was still underway and would continue until discovery was made.
“We are still doing exploration at the Lupane gas project (and) we will continue until we make a discovery,” said Chidhakwa.
Exploration started this year after government ordered the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which has two coal-bed methane concessions in Lupane-Lubimbi area, to start exploring.
The government granted the exploration of gas a National Project Status in 2007, but did not take action until this year.
In April this year, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) managing director Mike Ndudzo told The Source that the government must put its house in order to attract investors for the project, with three ministries — mining, energy and industry – in disagreement over who should take charge of the project.
“We formed a company over 10 years ago, as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to create critical mass technically and financially to drive this project, but what has happened? There have been squabbles before GNU (government of national unity), during GNU and up to now,” Ndudzo said then.
However, Shangani Energy Exploration (SEE) said in March that it would, at an unspecified time, embark on a $780 million gas project and build a 400 megawatt power station in Gwayi.
SEE is jointly owned by ferrochrome producer Zimasco and its parent company, China’s Sinosteel Corporation with an 84,81 percent stake, while the remainder is held by Paul Tromp.
China Africa Sunlight Energy, which discovered four billion metric tonnes of coal reserves on its Gwayi concessions, plans to set up a gas extraction plant as part of a $2.1 billion project over five years to 2018.
The company is a 50/50 joint venture between Zimbabwe’s Old Stone Investments and Shandong Taishan Sunlight of China.
But another company, Zambezi Gas, last year said it had delayed plans to extract methane gas at its Hwange claims in Matabeleland North after failing to raise funding for the project, although it has began coal mining.Advertisement
The firm was granted special gas and coal concessions in 2003 and 2007 respectively, but lack of technical and financial resources has delayed the investments over the years.
Zambezi Gas says it needs at least $60 million to kick start the project.