Zimbabwe, which currently imports virtually all of its oil needs, averaging roughly 14,000 barrels per day, is seeking to expand its indigenous energy resources, particularly coal.
Zimbabwe’s Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu said during the third Zimbabwe Mining Indaba, "We have awarded 20 licenses for coal exploration and mining. This should help in ensuring that the country can generate adequate electricity for the economy in general."
Earlier this year Mpofu announced that five new coal exploration licenses had been issued to prospect for coal in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland North Province, Harare’s The Herald Online reported. The five firms awarded licenses were Makomo Investments, WK Blasting, Clidder, Apex and Liberation Mining.
The majority of the 20 companies receiving prospecting licenses are joint ventures with Zimbabwean partners owning controlling stakes in accordance with the Zimbabwe’s indigenization and empowerment law.
Business research and consulting firm Frost and Sullivan reports that Zimbabwe has coal reserves that will "approximately last the next 200 years at a production output of 5 000 tons per annum," with the coal reserves being suitable for providing feedstock for coal-powered thermal power stations.
In addition, the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission recently licensed 13 independent power projects.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com