By Leopold Munhende
GOVERNMENT has no plans at all to stop coal mining and instead plans to make the venture one of its main drivers of the economy, Mines Minister Winston Chitando has said.
Chitando was speaking at Tuesday’s post-cabinet media briefing in Harare.
According to the End Coal organisation, coal is the single biggest contributor to environmental pollution and contributes 46 percent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.
It also accounts for 72 percent of global Green House Gases from the electricity sector, one of the major causes of positive climate forcing or global warming.
However, the minister said the country’s carbon emissions were insignificant for government to consider alternative sources of energy.
“There are plans to have a huge increase in thermal power, and coke oven being established,” said Chitando.
“The plan is to extract our coal; it is for coal to take a key role in the development of our economy.
“If you look at the total carbon emissions of Zimbabwe and you look at what other countries are emitting, we are only emitting a small fraction.
“Even after implementing all our coal projects, we will be emitting a very small insignificant level of carbon emissions.”
Coal mining has been affected by a number of factors in the past decade that include calls for cleaner forms of energy such as solar power, wind farming and where capacity permits nuclear.
Efforts to setup solar farms in the country have been affected by corruption.
Currently, production at Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) is at 100 000 tonnes per month with projections of up to 200 000 tonnes per month next year, according to Chitando.