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FULL TEXT: HCCL Statement On Hwange Underground Coal Fires

Statement by Hwange Colliery Company Limited Managing Director Charles Zinyemba on underground fires.

We wish to draw attention to the Hwange community and the general public at large that Hwange Colliery Company is very much alive to the underground fires in our concessions.

As a precautionary measure, campaigns were and will continue to be carried out in schools and villages.

Tribal elders were engaged to assist in disseminating this information to the villagers.

Communities in close proximity to the affected areas were and will continue to be informed of temporary measures to manage risks such as road diversions to Number 3 village barricading as well as placement of signages at the affected areas.

In addition, HCCL has invested in a drone that has a thermal camera for security purposes and the identification of underground fires.

As part of long-term mitigation measures, Hwange Colliery Company has since contracted a German-based specialist company to assist with necessary interventions.

The organisation is among the best engineering teams in the world who have intervened in coal seam fires such as we are experiencing.

DTM works scheduled to commence in November 2021 were stalled by COVID-19 challenges but are now sure to commence in the first quarter of 2022.

DTM is the only company, which offered its services for managing the fires using modern and cost-effective methods among other companies, which HCCL consulted.

DTM provided the edge through comprehensive solutions to include:

  • subsurface fire detection,
  • location of hotspots,
  • magnetic mapping of underground fires,
  • seismo-acoustic of the fire centres and depth
  • laser scanning of underground cavities
  • crack mapping and rock mechanical analysis
  • planning and supervision of injection campaigns including the type of the injection slurry,
  • devising extinguishing strategies and workflow.

We have confidence that put together, all the above interventions will soon absolutely contain the spontaneous fires, all in the best interest of the Hwange citizenry and related stakeholders.

For and on behalf of Hwange Colliery Company Limited

Dr Charles Zinyemba
HCCL Managing Director

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